CORONAVIRUS

Alabama Fans Pack Streets After Crimson Tide Win, Ignoring COVID-19

A potential superspreader celebration erupted in Tuscaloosa despite the mayor's plea that the hospital was already stretched.

University of Alabama football fans packed the streets of Tuscaloosa to celebrate the Crimson Tide’s national championship Monday night, “the COVID-19 pandemic be damned,” the Tuscaloosa News wrote.

Videos and photos showed tightly packed swarms of young people, many of them maskless, whooping it up after Alabama defeated Ohio State, 52-24.

A stunned Scott Van Pelt of ESPN, which broadcast the game, watched footage of the potential superspreader celebration and didn’t quite know what to make of it.

“Well that’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama,” Van Pelt said. “That’s a college town, we got college kids, and ya know, what can you say? ... Not distancing ... who knows if they’re masking.”

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox had earlier admonished fans on Twitter against congregating in parties, Sports Illustrated noted, and warned “our hospital is stretched.”

Alabama’s coronavirus cases surged 30% in the week before the celebration, according to the New York Times. The state recorded 2,100 cases on Jan. 11 alone and was averaging 4,272 cases per day in the last week.

Tuscaloosa police quickly dispersed the revelers. Within a half-hour, traffic cameras revealed that University Boulevard had mostly been cleared, according to the Tuscaloosa News.

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