The Super Bowl marked by Covid, the climate of national unity is missing: the two Americas do not reconcile
President Biden in a recorded video called for a minute of silence for the more than 400,000 Americans who died from the virus
New York —A year ago at this time, it was the Super Bowl of campaigning billionaires: Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg had faced each other with 10 million dollar commercials. This was the Covid Super Bowl, shaken in every detail by the pandemic. Joe Biden and First Lady Jill (who followed him from home) in a pre-recorded video thanked the health professionals at the forefront of the battle against the pandemic. The president called for a minute of silence to commemorate the more than 400,000 Americans who died from the virus. He appealed to all citizens to respect the rules: masks, safety distances, and get vaccinated without delay when your turn comes. He called the closed schools «a national emergency», to be resolved as soon as possible. He closed with a wish:
In fact, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida was only apparently so. Of the 65,000 seats of normal capacity, only 25,000 were occupied by live spectators, of which 7,500 doctors and nurses were invited as guests of honor. Most of the seats were occupied by cardboard silhouettes: with images of celebrities such as Eminem, Drake, Billie Eilish, or simple spectators who paid $ 100 for the honor of being present in the stands virtually, with their own photo printed on a template . Despite these precautions, some experts fear that the Super Bowl will be remembered above all as a Super Spreader event, that is, one of those mass gatherings that trigger a new spike in infections.
Exceptional Super Bowl, marked by national tragedy, but not enough to make you feel an atmosphere of unity, let alone of reconciliation between the two Americas (which within a few hours will re-enact their laceration, with Trump’s impeachment process in the Senate ). Veterans of the sporting event remember very different precedents: like the first Super Bowl with Tom Brady, in 2002, in an America still mourning the 9/11 attack, with exceptional security measures around the stadium, but in a climate of national union which is lacking today; or that of 1991 at the beginning of the Gulf War, with the national anthem sung by Whitney Houston, at a time when patriotism was still a bipartisan glue.