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Thousands party in streets after Alabama win, despite virus

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Thousands party in streets after Alabama win, despite virus

Alabama fans celebrate in the street in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Monday night after Alabama defeated Ohio State in the NCAA college football national championship game in Miami Gardens, Fla. Many of the fans didn’t take basic precautions against the coronavirus like wearing face masks. TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Thousands of University of Alabama football fans partied in the street near campus after the Crimson Tide defeated Ohio State 52-24 for the national championship, ignoring pleas for safety at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in a celebration that a top health official said Tuesday could worsen disease.

Students and others poured out of jam-packed bars near campus as time expired in Miami late Monday, traffic cameras and images posted on social media show, gathering on University Boulevard in an area called “The Strip.”

Many of the fans screaming and cheering as they pressed against each other in the street didn’t wear face masks. Dr. Scott Harris, the head of the Alabama Department of Public Health, said he expected more cases of COVID-19 to result from the street party.

“It’s disappointing to see people not paying attention to the guidance that we try to give to keep them safe. I was excited as anybody and wanted to celebrate also, but right now is not a time to be out in large groups of people close together when you are not masked,” he said.

Fourteen people were arrested on charges including public intoxication, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, officials said at a news conference where Mayor Walt Maddox said the crowd was “larger than any celebration that we’ve seen in recent memory.”

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