As delta variant causes spread, crowds turn out for Cincy sports

Paul Brown Stadium
Posted at 10:21 PM, Jul 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-01 00:49:39-04

CINCINNATI — Bengals fans visited Paul Brown Stadium for an open practice while FC Cincinnati fans attended a sold-out match against DC United Saturday, just one day after health officials declared Hamilton County to be an area with substantial COVID-19 spread.

Hamilton County health officials said the Centers for Disease Control gives a spread the "substantial" label when an area sees more than 50 cases per 100,000 people in the past seven days. Hamilton County is at 54.07 cases per 100,000.

The CDC has also changed their mask guidance for vaccinated people, now recommending everyone to mask up indoors whether vaccinated or not.

For some, the new mask guidance and increasing delta variant cases feels like a step back as things were getting back to normal.

"That was great," said Angela White, from Cincinnati. "It seemed great, but now that the variant seems to be, I guess, taking over, it makes things even more uncertain with the fall."

The new CDC recommendations and Hamilton County's status as a region of "substantial spread" didn't stop folks from turning out for soccer or football on Saturday.

"The virus is changing, and constantly we have to worry about the new things coming out and, you know, I trust science," said Eric Bowers, who attended the FC Cincinnati match. "I trust what the scientists say."

Bowers said he doesn't want to go back to wearing a mask, but if recommendations become mandates again, he'll mask up. White said she plans to go back to wearing one out of an abundance of caution.

"We will certainly find people who won't wear masks. We have throughout the pandemic. But the goal is that enough of us come together and work together as a team to help reduce COVID within our communities so that we don't see major spikes, so that we don't overburden our hospitals, and keep things moving in the right direction," said Greg Kesterman, health commissioner for Hamilton County Public Health, on Friday.

There is currently no mask ordinance in Hamilton County, but Kesterman said he is urging people to follow the CDC's recommendations.