Despite declining cases, health experts urge caution as fans plan to gather for Super Bowl

COVID cases have been falling for weeks in Hawaii. But health experts are still cautioning that there may be 3 to 4 times more Omicron infections.
Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 9:35 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 12, 2022 at 4:01 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - COVID cases have been falling for weeks in Hawaii. But health experts are still cautioning that there may be 3 to 4 times more Omicron infections than what’s being reported.

“Many of the cases may be asymptomatic, a lot of the cases are being tested at home. They’re using home test kits that are not being picked up. They’re not in our system,” said Tim Brown, an infectious disease expert at the East-West Center.

Despite the risks, Super Bowl fans are planning gatherings again.

Skybox Taphouse in Waikiki advertised a big game party for Sunday. It sold out last Monday.

“It’s a time for excitement,” said Skybox general manager Kassim Maynard-Gumbs. “It’s a time for people to get together, cheer on their favorite teams, and it just feels like a common community. Everybody just feels really, really great.”

But fans should be aware of the odds of getting infected.

“If you’re getting together with a large group of 30 to 40 people, there’s probably a decent chance that somebody in that room is infected with Omicron,” said Brown.

Case counts are falling, but so are vaccinations.

According to the state Department of Health, there were 19,960 vaccinations administered statewide in the seven-day period that ended Friday. During a seven-day period four weeks ago, that number was 49,202.

The number of booster shots is also dropping. There were 10,959 boosters during the seven-day period that ended Friday, compared with 34,409 during the seven-day period that ended Jan. 14.

Meanwhile, more people are getting home test kits. And experts said this is a good weekend to use them, because they can tell you if you’re infectious.

“Test yourself just before you go to the party, don’t do it a day in advance, do it the day of the party” said Brown.

“It takes 15 minutes to do the test, so you can do it as part of the pre-game preparations.”

The Health Department said that people should watch and enjoy the game, but do it safely.

And if you did manage to get a table for a game-watching party at a sports bar like Skybox, “Once you guys head out, you do whatever — cheer, hug, high-five somebody,” said Maynard-Gumbs.

“But while you’re in the restaurant, just keep it to that table.”

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