January 23, 2021

Notre Dame fans storming the field after Clemson upset set off COVID-19 alarm bells

In the most precarious season of college football history, in which games have been canceled and spectators have been outright banned at some programs, it’s hard to think of a sight worse, as far as the COVID-19 pandemic goes, than what followed Notre Dame’s upset win over No. 1 Clemson.

As soon as Clemson’s last attempt to score in double overtime fell short, Notre Dame fans rushed the field as if their team wasn’t playing in a pandemic that reached a new peak this week in the United States.

This is the postgame sight that greeted college football fans as well as a nation waiting for a delayed post-election “Saturday Night Live”:

Social distancing, that is not.

Obviously, Notre Dame fans had reason to be excited. Their team just beat the top team in the country (which was admittedly missing its Heisman-caliber quarterback) and secured a path to College Football Playoff contention. Fans wait years for these kind of nights.

However, the coronavirus doesn’t care that they had reason to be excited. It remains dangerous, a virus that has killed more than 200,000 Americans and continues to spread at record rates. Per Notre Dame’s own numbers, there were 17 coronavirus cases reported on campus Friday with a daily average of 27.3 over the last seven days. Like so many other college campuses, COVID-19 has a presence at Notre Dame and beating Clemson doesn’t change that.

Hopefully, Saturday’s game won’t be seen as a super-spreader event, but the field-stormers at Notre Dame — as well as the school administrators that allowed them into the stadium with no evident plan to stop them from crowding — certainly seem to have done the best they can to create one.

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