As snow continues to fall, flu theories have gained momentum.
As snow continues to fall, flu theories have gained momentum.

Conspiracy theory ravages Super Bowl

HOW bad is this year's flu?

It's so bad, the Nevada Red Cross is recommending Super Bowl partiers "huddle up" Sunday not only with friends and beer, but with "soap and disposable hand towels."

It's so bad that an ESPN report - revealing that the dreaded virus has stricken Philadelphia Eagles starters Tim Jernigan, Ronald Darby and Mychal Kendricks - set off a ­#flugate conspiracy-theory free-for-all on Twitter.

The Patriots have a storied past when it comes to controversies and hence leaves the door open for fans to throw the blame their way.

Way back in 2007, the team was embroiled in the aptly named #SpyGate after being caught videotaping New York Jets' defensive coaches and their play signals.

While videotaping of opposing coaches is allowed in the NFL, the Patriots broke the rules by doing so from an unauthorised location and received heavy punishment.

Coach Bill Belichick received a $500,000 fine while the team was fined $250,000 and lost a first-round draft selection.

Then during the 2015 playoffs, the Patriots again courted controversy after the team was found to be deliberately under-inflating footballs.

The incidents occurred during the AFC Championship game, a contest the Patriots won before going on to win the Super Bowl.

Tom Brady was handed a four-game suspension over the incident while the team copped a $1 million fine and lost two draft picks.

As the cold streak takes a hold of Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52, Eagles fans were quick to blame the sweeping turn of illness ravaging their sides locker room on the Patriots after hearing multiple starters had been affected.

Unlike past Patriots indiscretions, it's going to be hard to pinpoint this one on the team often referred to as the 'evil empire'.

"Damn, Bill Belichick planting flu in our players now?" one ardent ­Eagles fan tweeted of the rival New England Patriots coach.





The country is experiencing the worst flu season in a decade, with no sign of slowing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the flu season continued to intensify the week ending Jan. 27.

One of every 14 visits to doctors and clinics nationwide that week was for symptoms of the flu - the highest level since the deadly swine flu pandemic in 2009.

In New York, the flu has been categorised as widespread for the eighth consecutive week, according to the state Health Department.

The week ending Jan. 27, there were 11,683 lab-confirmed influenza reports in the state, a 50 per cent increase over the previous week.

The number of patients hospitalised with influenza was 2,221, a 21 per cent increase over the previous week.

In New York City, 3,015 people have been hospitalised since the season began in October, 33 per cent more than at this time last year.

Flu is widespread in 48 states, down from 49 last week, with only Oregon reporting less flu activity, the CDC said.

The child death toll is up to 53 - with 16 fatalities during the week ending Jan. 27. Eighty per cent of those children had not had a flu shot, the CDC said.

Experts had thought this season might be bad, but its intensity has surprised most everyone because the flu usually peaks in February.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, CDC acting director, warned, "We are not out of the woods yet."

She urged people to wash their hands frequently and cover their mouth while coughing or sneezing.

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