Labor Day, Football Crowds Create ‘Perfect Storm’ for COVID-19 Surge

Dr. Suzanne Judd. Source: Zoom news conference.

The Labor Day holiday and the start of football season are creating a perfect storm for the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant, especially in Alabama with its low vaccination rate, doctors at UAB warned Thursday.

It’s important to make good choices to avoid contracting the virus, two UAB doctors said.

Typically, there has a been spike in the number of Covid cases about 10 days after each holiday, said Dr. Suzanne Judd, professor and epidemiologist in the UAB School of Public Health. Although it’s generally more important to wear masks indoors than outdoors, she said, “If people are gathered, wear a mask.”

Judd said the start of football season raises the risk of a major the spread of the Delta variant because people are seated close together in stadiums, and there is yelling and screaming that forces saliva from mouths.

Wearing a mask is important, she added, but “if you are feeling sick, don’t go to the game.”

She also noted a recent rise in the number of cases among people age 20 to 40 and children under 17.

UAB is under a strain from the number of Covid patients being treated, said Dr. Sarah Nafziger, UAB vice president of Clinical Services. She said UAB has postponed surgeries, except for emergencies, and has denied a number of transfer requests from other hospitals because of the number of patients it has.

Dr. Sarah Nafziger. Source: UAB

Another concern, the doctors said, is the number of cases among school-age children.

Nafziger said UAB is seeing younger Covid patients because children are not vaccinated and older people are.

“Most of our patients are unvaccinated, which speaks volumes to the fact that the vaccine works,” Nafziger said.

UAB is offering free vaccinations on the second floor of the Kirklin Clinic and in a drive-through at the UAB Highlands parking deck. Another option is at pharmacies across the state. To find where, go to

To enjoy the holidays and games, Nafziger advised, “Think about the choices you make.”