The Super Bowl had 25k people, with 1/3 vaccinated healthcare workers: ok or holy sh-t?

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I was shocked when I first saw the crowd at the Super Bowl last night. I tweeted about it and people told me the stadium was at a third capacity and that they had given away 7,500 tickets to vaccinated healthcare workers. When they showed shots of the crowds I saw that what I first assumed were people were just cardboard cutouts. It didn’t look as bad close up but the optics were still terrible. Many people weren’t wearing masks or had them down under their chin. It turned out that there were a total of 25,000 people there in a stadium with a capacity of 65,890. There were 22,000 fans (including the 7,500 healthcare workers) plus 3,000 “players, personnel and other NFL staff.” That makes thousands of people in a stadium during a pandemic that has us unable to have in person funerals or graduations. On one side at least they did something to limit capacity, on the other they still let people attend, only 1/3 were vaccinated that we know about, and they chose to make it look like the stadium was full, which was jarring. Here’s part of a writeup on this from Buzzfeed, which is kind of neutral:

A lot of people tuned into the Super Bowl on Sunday and freaked out at seeing a packed stadium — but on closer inspection, there are thousands more cardboard cutouts than people.

Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa is the smallest crowd in recent history, due to the dangers of COVID-19 and the need for social distancing…

However, the stadium still looks crowded because of 30,000 cardboard cutouts made to look like cheering fans are in the stands. A Super Bowl cutout cost $100, and also include a bunch of celebs, such as DJ Khaled and Lady Gaga.

Brian McCarthy, a spokesperson for the NFL, tweeted an explanation noting that the cutouts “provide physical distance btwn pods of fans & vaccinated health care workers.”

McCarthy also pointed out that they are quite a visual effect. “Place looked packed when I arrived at 8:30 a.m. today,” he said.

[From Buzzfeed]

Tickets were cheaper than usual, but still cost more than most of the cars I’ve owned. You could also pay $100 to get a cardboard cutout of yourself in the stands to watch the game. I don’t know what to say about this exactly because I’m kind of numb in general lately. Every time I go to a store I see some ugly a-hole’s unmasked face and it’s forever changed me. I’ll give a typical mom response. I’m disappointed, but not surprised. At all. They wanted to give a semblance of a full stadium and they did that by faking it and pushing the boundaries as much as they could. That’s capitalism.

They couldn’t even get all the people in this staged photo to wear masks:
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— King Taurus (@TevonBlair) February 7, 2021

— áine – black lives matter (@annebann18) February 8, 2021

— august (@c__spice) February 8, 2021

— Ryan Stiles (@WhoseRyanStiles) February 7, 2021

— Dr. Saskia Popescu (@SaskiaPopescu) February 8, 2021

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This is Suzie Dorner, a COVID-19 Intensive Care Unit nurse manager at Tampa General Hospital. She presided over the coin toss.
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