INDIANAPOLIS — Indy is now just two days away from the College Football Playoff National Championship events getting underway.
Several free concerts, as well as the playoff fan central, will be happening all weekend with an expected 100 thousand attendees. Tournament officials are not requiring people to wear masks at the venue or any of the ancillary events.
This is happening at the same time Indiana is seeing some of its worst COVID-19 numbers of the entire pandemic. Some doctors are questioning whether the city should be hosting this event at all.
“An event of the size could become easily a super spreader event,” said Dr. Brian Dixon with the Regenstrief Institute.
Dr. Dixon said the fallout from this weekend’s events could push some hospitals past their breaking point.
“We could probably see rates go up another 20 percent because of this event,” Dixon said.
The Marion County Department of Public Health said it can only advise tournament officials on best practice. Dr. Virginia Caine, who leads the department, said she’s been in contact with the CDC and the Indiana Department of Health. Caine insisted it’s up to individuals to take personal responsibility.
“We are asking and strongly encouraging that they be masked inside the stadium during the game,” Dr. Caine said. “I think again people know what it takes in order to be safe.”
Whether or not people take those precautions is yet to be seen. Doctors said the big danger is how we just don’t know.
“It is concerning bringing lots of people from all over the country who may or may not have been infected at home and may or may not have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Paul Driscoll with Franciscan Health.
Dixon said event organizers could dramatically reduce the risk to everyone if they simply required masks.
“Many people are asymptomatic and they might not even know they’re infected and so we’re both prevent that person from spreading it to others but it would protect all the people in the venue — another layer of protection,” Dixon said.
For their part, tournament officials reiterated that they are strongly recommending that people wear masks and get vaccinated. They’re also encouraging people to get tested before going to the game, but again there is no requirement.