Dr. Fauci warns against Super Bowl parties: ‘Enjoy the game’ with household only


Dr. Anthony Fauci is reluctant to reveal his Super Bowl predictions, but he readily shared his warning on the spread of COVID-19 if Americans proceed with unsafe football festivities this Sunday.

Appearing on the “Today” show Wednesday, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director discouraged NFL fans and party enthusiasts from gathering amid an unrelenting pandemic to watch Super Bowl LV, a near-national holiday during which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off against the Kansas City Chiefs.

“Every time we do have something like this, there always is a spike — be it a holiday, Christmas, New Year’s, Thanksgiving,” Fauci told Savannah Guthrie. “As you mentioned, Super Bowl is a big deal in the United States.


“Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household,” he said. “As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that.”

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It goes without saying the world-renowned infectious disease specialist has become something of a national treasure as the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the U.S. and much of the world. Often clarifying and sometimes openly contradicting former President Trump during his time on that administration’s coronavirus task force, Fauci has become a household name in the past year and an unlikely cultural icon.

Over the past few weeks, the recently “liberated” and very gif-able doctor has spoken candidly of his tempestuous tenure with Trump and his eagerness to join President Biden’s efforts to combat the pandemic.

On “Today,” Fauci also shared his outlook on the vaccination rollout and the possibility of mutated virus strains taking hold in the U.S. (Though early signs of a decline in national cases are promising, Los Angeles County remains a major hot spot, with January the deadliest month thus far.)

“Continue to double down on the public health measures to prevent spread from person to person, and get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can,” Fauci said. “The more people that are protected for infection, the less opportunity you give the virus to mutate. It can’t mutate if it doesn’t replicate, so the more you suppress it, the less it does.”

Not being suppressed, however, is Fauci’s popularity.

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It was only a matter of time before Hollywood took notice of the longest-serving public health leader — and also the highest-paid federal employee — in Washington, who has worked under seven presidents. Brad Pitt nabbed an Emmy Award nomination for portraying the Brooklynite on “Saturday Night Live” last spring, and Fauci loved the spoof.


But a quick sketch doesn’t remedy Americans’ need to see more of Fauci, even if he is campaigning against some of their plans to party. National Geographic Documentary Films — the studio behind “Free Solo,” “The Cave” and “Rebuilding Paradise” — is giving us a more sobering dose of the doc. This week, it released a trailer for “Fauci,” an upcoming documentary feature about the public servant’s remarkable career, which has so far survived two pandemics and an epidemic: HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 and Ebola.

Filmmakers gained exclusive access to the doctor and promise an intimate portrait of Fauci that delivers “a rare glimpse into the long-standing professional career and personal life of this ultimate public servant and American hero, who after a lifetime of public service faced his biggest test: a pandemic whose ferocity is unmatched in modern history.”

“Fauci,” directed by John Hoffman and Janet Tobias, features interviews with the doctor, as well as appearances by those who have influenced him, including President George W. Bush, Bill Gates, Bono, key AIDS activists and organizers, family, friends and former patients.

A release date for the documentary has not yet been announced.

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