Students worried COVID cases will rise after football games, data says differently

Lauren Nelson

Editor’s Note: This first appeared in the September 17 flipbook issue. 

After over 91,000 thousand people attended UT’s first home football game nearly two weeks ago, some UT students worried COVID-19 cases would spike. However, University COVID-19 data shows cases have dropped since the game. 

Brittany Boyer, clinical data informatics manager for University Health Services and the Counseling and Mental Health Center, said there were 178 active COVID-19 cases at UT on Sept. 3, the day before UT’s first home football game. That number has been cut by nearly half, with 109 active cases as of Sept. 15, according to the UT Austin COVID-19 Dashboard. 

However, new daily positive infections have increased, with two positive results on game day and about 17 the following Thursday.

In Travis County, COVID-19 cases are also trending down slightly. The city recorded 100 fewer total COVID-19 cases Sept. 14 compared to Sept. 3, according to the Austin-Travis County COVID-19 dashboard.

Although data shows a decrease in COVID-19 cases since UT’s first game, some students are still concerned the lack of precautions at the games will cause the virus to spread more rapidly. 

“Only a few people were in masks,” said Paulina Pearson, a journalism freshman who attended the game. “I am vaccinated, but I was a little bit nervous.”

Pearson said that while most staff members wore masks, almost no visitors did. She said she wished the University took more precautions to prevent the spread of the virus to keep the community safe at games. She said UT should require fans to show their vaccination card or a negative COVID-19 test to attend games.

“I had a mask with me and put it on sometimes, but it worried me for the people that aren’t vaccinated because I just know it’s going to keep spreading if people who aren’t vaccinated don’t wear a mask, get tested or take precautions,” Pearson said. “(UT) should take …more precautions.”