Milwaukee authorities link nearly 500 COVID-19 cases to crowds watching Bucks' title run

As the Milwaukee Bucks reached the final stages of their first NBA title in 50 years, one of the most indelible images was the hoard of people crowding around the Fiserv Forum during the NBA Finals.

All of that apparently came at a cost for some Wisconsinites.

Milwaukee health commissioner Kirsten Johnson announced Wednesday that her department has identified 491 people with confirmed or probable COVID-19 cases who said they attended the Deer District or Bucks games during their period of infection, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Contact tracing and testing for such cases remains ongoing.

Johnson reportedly said the figure is likely an undercount, though there's no way to definitively link the cases to watching the Bucks among a large crowd.

Here is what that crowd looked like:

my god

— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) July 21, 2021

The Deer District right before tip!

📺 Game 6: 9pm/et on ABC

— NBA (@NBA) July 21, 2021

The cases allegedly tied to the Bucks' Finals run are part of a larger spike in COVID-19 cases in the area thanks to the delta variant. 

Per the Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee health officials said the city has reached the "extreme transmission" category with 193.2 cases per 100,000 people as of Tuesday, with four times as many people hospitalized with COVID in Wisconsin as they were one month ago.

Johnson reportedly urged residents to get tested if they have attended any more large gatherings:

"I think it is important to recognize that any time there is a large gathering of people, we are going to see the virus spread," Johnson said during a Tuesday COVID-19 briefing.

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