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Public health officials across the nation are bracing for a possible surge in coronavirus cases if Americans fail to take heed of warnings not to gather for Super Bowl parties Sunday.

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The game itself will be played before 22,000 masked fans, many of them vaccinated health care workers, at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ stadium. Experts with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been among many health officials warning Americans to gather with friends over Zoom, not over bowls of guacamole in their living rooms, lest the parties become superspreader events across the nation.

“I’m worried about Super Bowl Sunday, quite honestly. People gather, they watch games together. We’ve seen outbreaks already from football parties,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “So I really do think that we need to watch this and be careful.”

Follow Super Bowl action here:Super Bowl 2021 live updates: Score, analysis for Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay BuccaneerState leaders were also on alert.”Watching the Big Game today?” tweeted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Celebrate smart and be safe. We are seeing our positivity & hospitalizations decline thanks to the dedication of all NYers. We can’t undo that progress.”

COVID-19 has killed more than 463,000 Americans, and infections have continued to mount despite the introduction of a pair of vaccines late in 2020.Two days after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling lifted a ban on indoor services during the coronavirus pandemic, some California churches opened their doors to worshipers Sunday. According to the ruling, the state can limit attendance to 25% of a building’s capacity and restrict singing and chanting inside to curb virus transmission.

Inmates at a St. Louis jail set fires, broke out windows and threw things from fourth-floor windows Saturday in the latest disturbance over coronavirus concerns and restrictions that have limited visits and stalled court proceedings, officials said. New coronavirus cases are on the decline in the United States following staggering post-holiday peaks last month, but experts say it’s too early for new COVID-19 vaccines to be having an impact.

? Today’s numbers: The U.S. has more than 26.9 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 463,300 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 106 million cases and 2.3 million deaths. More than 59.3 million vaccine doses have been distributed in the U.S. and about 39 million have been administered, according to the CDC.

? What we’re reading: Frank Martinez and his wife, Masako, were “inseparable” until they both contracted COVID-19. They were being treated in separate hospital rooms, but two nurses brought them together for a date night.

Chicago has tentative deal for reopening schools
The nation’s third-largest school district appears closer to reopening classrooms.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Sunday that “our children will be returning to in-person learning this week” after a tentative agreement was worked out with the teachers’ union over COVID-19 safety protocols, potentially averting a strike.

Under the possible deal, which still requires approval by the Chicago Teachers Union, pre-K and special education programs would return Thursday and other groups would be staggered. Kindergarten through fifth grade students would go back to school March 1 and middle schoolers a week later. No return date has been set for high schoolers.

The union and district have been arguing for months over a plan to gradually reopen the roughly 340,000-student district, and talks broke down in recent days. The major issues included widespread vaccinations for teachers, metrics to gauge school infections and accommodations for teachers who have a person in their household who’s more susceptible to the coronavirus.