New York will hold its traditional New Year's Eve party amid the increase in cases by Ómicron.
The city reduced the capacity of its traditional celebration in Times Square to 15,000 people. The lighting equipment has already been installed, and a rehearsal of what will be Mayor Bill de Blasio's last activity has been carried out.
Not even the fierce wave of Ómicron can interfere with the mythical New Year's Eve in Times Square in New York, where "only" 15,000 vaccinated people will gather to welcome 2022, while coronavirus infections soared in the Big Apple in recent weeks to levels never seen.
The city refuses to give up its quintessential party, which makes New York the center of attention on the last night of each year, and that this time, moreover, had been proclaimed as proof that the metropolis that never sleeps has returned to what it was before the pandemic.
"A big celebration with full force is returning to New York," said New York Mayor Bill de Blasio a month and a half ago when the long-awaited event was announced.
FROM 58,000 TO 15,000 PEOPLE
But two weeks after the date above, the authorities decided to reduce the number of attendees from the 58,000 who usually gather in the square to 15,000 people, all of them obligatorily vaccinated and wearing a mask. Although it is a substantial decrease, it continues to go. Contrary to what the experts recommend.
"If you plan to go to a New Year's Eve party of 40 or 50 people (...) with everyone kissing and hugging and wishing each other a happy new year, I would strongly recommend that this year not do that," he said to two days from December 31, the chief epidemiologist of the US Government, Anthony Fauci.
Even so, New York has already installed the prominent luminous figures that will welcome 2022 and the vast sphere of more than 5,400 kilos that descends from the mast located at 1 Times Square.
It has even held an event to rehearse the launch of the nearly 1,400 kilos of confetti that fall on Times Square in less than a minute.
The city of skyscrapers, which became one of the epicenters of the coronavirus in the first months of the pandemic and was struck, does not seem to fear a new wave of cases and has ignored the cancellations decided by other large cities, such as Tokyo, Paris, London, or Rome, that have canceled New Year's Eve celebration events.
"We lead vaccinations, we have reopened safely, and every day we work to achieve a recovery for everyone," explained De Blasio about his decision to go ahead with the event, in which in addition to vaccines and masks and it is recommended to save a certain social distancing among the 15,000 attendees.
"There is much to celebrate, and additional security measures will keep the vaccinated public safe as we welcome the new year," added the outgoing mayor. He will leave his post at midnight on December 31.
THE POLICE RUNS OUT OF VACATION
But just over 48 hours before New Year's Eve, the number of daily coronavirus positives was skyrocketing to 70,000 in a single day in New York state, more than double the previous record.
A significant presence of the virus is behind the new order of the New York Police, which has prohibited its agents from taking vacations on the last day of 2021 and the first of 2022 due to a shortage of personnel caused by new infections.
In the rest of the New York state, they have chosen to cancel various celebrations, including in Westchester, White Plains, Yorktown, or Peekskill.