The Bay Area's poor air quality added an extra twist to the San Francisco 49ers' home opener in Santa Clara Thursday night. But thousands of fans still showed up to support their team against the New York Giants.
The 49ers were not commenting about the bad air, but the team did share a policy from the NFL which states that an air quality measurement of "200 in the immediate vicinity of the stadium signifies very unhealthy conditions in which vigorous exercise is not recommended."
But Santa Clara remained below that benchmark. That made parents feel safer about bringing their children to the game.
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"Their school is monitoring it. His daycare is monitoring it and so, we just felt comfortable with that. The fact that they still had school, we were able to come here today," said San Jose resident Mayra Gonzalez.
It has been a while since 49er faithful have had a chance to party and root for their team at Levi’s Stadium.
The fans got started early at the Great America entrance into the stadium. There was a large crowd waiting more than five hours before kickoff.
Once inside, fans told NBC Bay Area their concerns about the hazy air and other opening day problems.
"It is. I didn’t realize it. We were in the car obviously driving down but when we got here as soon as I got out. I smelled it. So, I’m thoughtful. But I’m going in,” said 49ers fan Karen Nowack.
The bad air did seem to take a back seat to the new parking procedures which many people talked about.
“To be honest, we’re excited to be back the home opener is a big deal but the one issue that seems to be on everybody’s mind including mine is this new parking rule,” said 49ers fan Jeff.
Only a few out of thousands were geared up with masks as they walked into the stadium for the game. According to UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, it may cause healthy fans to wake up with sore throats.
“A sore throat for a short period of time, in the absence of preexisting medical conditions is probably going to be fine, but what you want to watch out of is shortness of breath, chest pain, feeling dizzy,” he said.
Chin-Hong added that the risk goes up the longer someone goes out, especially for those with respiratory diseases.
“Things like an asthma flare and that's on the short term. In the long term, we would expect impact on heart disease, brain disease as well as some chronic lung diseases,” he said.
Chin-Hong said that not everyone will wake up with symptoms. He said it really just depends how long they were out here for and what the air quality index was for that time period.
The 49ers defeated the New York Giants with a score of 30-12 Thursday night.