CHARLOTTE, N.C. — It is a busy month for football fans. The college national championship Monday, NFL playoffs, and the Super Bowl all in the next month.
But this year, people are having to switch up how they watch the games and cheer on their teams amid the pandemic.
People packed into bars to watch football was the norm before COVID-19 changed everything.
But as the big games ramp up COVID-19 trends are soaring, meaning how you cheer on your favorite team may look different this year.
"If you're going to do anything, it's best to do it with members of your own household, people who you live with, and that's it," says Dr. Frank Esper, MD, an infectious disease specialist with Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
While the excitement of the big game can be contagious so is COVID-19.
Doctors recommend avoiding indoor crowds at bars or house parties.
The cheering, screaming, and yelling can send infectious droplets into the air.
Instead, doctors encourage fans to stay home and have a virtual tailgate or watch party.
Health experts say COVID-19 can spread unknowingly by people who don't have symptoms -- urging people who decide to watch the game outside of their household to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash your hands.
"Remember, these masks and social distancing not only protect you but also protect people from others who might not even know that they're infected, and there's a lot of people out there who don't know that they are infected," says Dr, Esper.
And before you throw back a few cold ones, doctors also recommend watching your alcohol consumption... because alcohol makes people less inhibited and more likely to let their guard down on safety measures.