Football season continues as pandemic soars in Florida

Photo courtesy of Dave Adamson/Unsplash

Tallahassee’s football season is certainly the topic of the town. While many residents plan to get the full Saturday night experience, others express their concern for the potentially super contagious events.

Florida A&M University and Florida State University both held football games on Sept. 11.

Images of the packed stands, filled with fans but no masks, quickly went viral across social media. This left many residents who did not attend these games wondering if the university’s administrators are taking the proper precautions when dealing with in-person events on campus.

Elizabeth James, a biology pre-medical student at FAMU, said that she believes the university is following the proper health precautions for students and staff indoors, but it is hard to control the events outside of the classroom buildings.

“It is hard to social distance at the football games. There isn’t enough space to make sure to leave six feet between each other, especially getting food in line, because everyone is so excited about the game that they forget that we are in a pandemic,” James said.

According to The New York Times coronavirus disease statistics, Florida has reached slightly over 3 million COVID-19 cases, and 48,772 deaths. Leon County alone has 46,857 cases and 332 deaths.

Despite the increasing number of cases, Tallahassee schools have continued to go forward with the fall 2021 football season.

With the over-condensed participation at the football games, it is said that it was hard to keep track of who was wearing a mask.

“Because I am in the band, I have a different experience than a regular fan,” said Thaddeus Philip-Luces, a mechanical engineer scholar. “I have to get tested at least once a week and wear my mask at all times when I am not playing.”

Giselle Perez, a registered nurse with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing, said that she recently attended the football game and was the only person amongst hundreds of people wearing a mask.

“With these games being weekly events, this virus will continue to spread in an uncontrollable manner,” Perez said. “We as nurses are burned out and exhausted and not ready for an all-new surge of covid patients. Hospitals are still full, and people are still dying.”

Hospitalization rates are increasing by the week. Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare, reported that out of 78 patients admitted to the hospital, 70 were unvaccinated.

FSU stated on their website that they will continue with the safety protocols that were in place last season.

“The wearing of masks is expected everywhere on FSU’s campus, including our sports venues,” as said on the website.

FAMU also posted on their website the guidelines that all participants are expected to follow while attending anything on campus.