Mask-less students at UArizona football game raise concerns

The University says they dont know how many students attended the game
Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 10:07 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -In the first major event since the beginning of the pandemic more than a year ago—the University of Arizona is raising COVID-19 concerns.

Our cameras captured hundreds of students close together without masks or social distancing at the Arizona Spring football game this past weekend.

“We have been watching death all year long and I hate to see more of it and this sort of irresponsible behavior is going to foster that,” said Dr. Steven Oscherwitz, an infectious disease expert in Tucson.

I showed him a video we took on Saturday- where hundreds of mask-less students packed the Zona Zoo, yelling and cheering at the top of their lungs for hours for the wildcats football team.

“Even though there is a lot of air outside if someone has virus inside their throat or in their lungs they’re blowing out such volumes of air when they’re screaming like that the people can be exposed,” said Dr. Oscherwitz.

Many of the university’s top leaders including university president Dr. Robert Robbins and Athletic Director Dave Heeke. While they were at the game, standing near the Zona Zoo, we don’t know if they saw the crowded student section or not.

The university denied multiple requests for an interview but, did provide this statement- saying they limited capacity inside Arizona Stadium to 5,000. Mask wearing and distancing were enforced in the stadium except the Zona Zoo.

The university doesn’t know how many students were at the game or what number of them are vaccinated though, as a whole on campus, 7,500 students are vaccinated.

But, Dr. Oscherwitz says the number of students who have had the shot may not matter in this situation.

“Imagine that the vaccine is 95-percent effective that means 5 out of 100 who are exposed are still going to get it there were more than 100 people in that stadium so there’s going to be a few who are infected with covid,” said Dr. Oscherwitz.

this is the last week of classes for students- meaning many of them will head home to other cities, states, and even countries in a matter of days.

Dr. Oscherwitz says this could mean further spread of the virus to other regions and said this is how variants emerge.

“We need a united effort and we can’t do that unless everybody does their part,” said Dr. Oscherwitz.

The university tells us they will be evaluating their distancing protocols ahead of graduation ceremonies.

Copyright 2021 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.