(CNN)Despite a surge in Covid-19 cases in Texas and across the country, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plans to continue his team's "aggressive approach" to fan attendance at home games.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones plans for more fans in stands despite surging Covid-19 cases
Jones said more than 30,000 people attended the November 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
"My plan was to increase our fans as we went through the season, and we followed that plan," Jones said, speaking to 105.3 The Fan radio in Dallas. "We've had almost a third of the attendance in the NFL, the whole NFL. I'm proud of that."
Jones touted AT&T Stadium's air circulation. He also praised his team's and his fans' approach to in-person attendance, saying, "we do it safely, we do it smartly."
"My plan was to increase our fans as we went through the season and move the numbers up, and we followed that plan."
Texas is averaging 9,842 new cases per day over the last week, second in the nation behind Illinois. Texas reported 7,468 hospitalizations Monday, a 22.37% increase from the prior week.
Texas leads the country with the most cases and is second highest in deaths. Texas has had at least 1,067,131 Covid-19 cases and 20,033 deaths.
"Literally, we have had no one report that they've had any contact with Covid from coming to our football game," he said.
During the NFL's weekly health and safety call with the media, the NFL's chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league and each team looks at data at the local and state level and works with local public health authorities in making all decisions related to Covid-19.
"No local case clusters have been reported traced back to NFL games," league vice president of communications Brian McCarthy said on the call.
Dr. Umair Shah, who heads the Harris County, Texas, health department, may not agree with Jones, saying that the pandemic is "far from over."
"This is like the first half -- 2020 was like in a football game the first half," Shah told CNN. "The holidays and where we are right now is halftime. We have a whole half ahead of us."
"If we don't do the right things during the halftime to strategize and get our act together so we're ready for the second half, we're going to be overrun by our opponent, and that's Covid-19," Shah told CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto.
On Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens announced they are halting fan attendance, citing safety concerns due to rising Covid-19 numbers. Last week, the Minnesota Vikings abandoned plans to host more than 250 fans at home games.