DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Health experts are warning that Sunday’s Super Bowl could be a “super spreader.”

The fear is that if folks gather for the game, it may undo precious progress North Texas has made in decreasing hospitalizations over the past two weeks.

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“I hope people enjoy the Super Bowl, but at the same time I hope they don’t let their guard down,” said Steve Love, CEO and President of the DFW Hospital Council. “If people go to Super Bowl parties, even if it’s your next door neighbor, you need to wear a mask, you need to physically distance, you need to wash your hands.”

Today, Dallas County has 18 ICU beds, Tarrant has 35, Collin has nine and Denton County has three.

With no major holidays since New Year’s Day, North Texas has seen improvement in hospitalizations.

It’s a feat health experts don’t want to go to waste.

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“We are at about 2,477 COVID-19 patients in Trauma Service Area E, today. Compare and contrast that to two weeks ago, we were over 4,000,” Love said.

But that progress, they fear, could easily be interrupted Sunday if folks head out to watch the game in large gatherings.

They say it’s the traditions of the Super Bowl, like shared drinks, snacks and shouting, that could mean life or death.

Especially with the new, more contagious variant floating around.

“If the variant of the virus is there, it will spread exponentially,” Love said. “If you’re in a little bubble of people you’re normally with that’s one thing. But if you’re in the company of people you’re not normally with, you’ve gotta take precautions.”

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Nicole Nielsen