NBC fact-checks Fauci's fear that college football games would be COVID super-spreaders: 'Never happened'

'Cases are now in steep decline in every college football state across the south'

A report on NBC's "Today" Saturday fact-checked Dr. Anthony Fauci’s fear – made on its cable arm MSNBC – of a dramatic COVID-19 surge from crowded football stadiums, saying it "never happened."

NBC reporter Shaquille Brewster reported packed stadiums for sporting events have not become "super-spreader events" for the coronavirus.

"For weeks, crowds in the tens of thousands, mostly unmasked, have sat side-by-side now cheering on their teams at the halfway point of the season," Brewster reported. "All while doctors warned of games becoming potential super-spreader events. A frightening prospect at the time with hospitals already on the brink."

Brewster cited Fauci’s theory that packed college games would lead to rising COVID cases during an appearance in September on MSNBC.

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"As soon as I saw it, I thought COVID is about to have a feast. What did you think?" host Joy Reid said about the stadiums.

"I thought the same thing. I think it’s really unfortunate," Fauci said.

"But it never happened," Brewster said, adding, "Cases are now in steep decline in every college football state across the south. Including Florida, where hospitalizations fell 64 percent last month, even as some 90,000 fans packed the [University of Florida] Gators' stadium."

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"It definitely gives me less anxiety at that time as I see an increased number of vaccinated people. And a decrease, in the dwindling numbers. For sure," Dr. Hiren Pokharna said.

Brewster noted outdoor venues, a vaccination bump, and greater natural immunity in the population after the contagious Delta variant hit younger people all played factors.

"You see it on TV and it looks really scary because we're not used to seeing that anymore. But in reality I think the exposure isn't as great as we think it is," Dr. Cindy Prinz added.

OutKick founder Clay Travis reported last month on the lack of COVID surges after the start of college football season.

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"There’s been a 35% decline in Georgia, 32% decline in South Carolina, 30% decline in Mississippi, 22% decline in Arkansas, 23% in Alabama, 9% in Texas. Every single SEC state where millions of people have gone to college football games has not led to a feast of COVID as Doctor Fauci predicted," Travis said.