Growing Number of New Year’s Celebrations Canceled Across the World Amid Omicron Spread

OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion

In the days leading up to New Year’s Day, a growing number of cities and municipalities have decided to postpone festivities due to CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus outbreaks despite milder symptoms and fewer hospitalizations than previously reported.

The iconic New Year’s celebration in New York City will take place as planned but will be scaled back, said outgoing Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio last week. Masks will be required, as will proof of vaccination, and social distance measures will be enforced.

Compared to last year, New Year’s Eve celebrations in New York City were much more subdued, with only a handful of people invited to Times Square. A number of them were first responders or healthcare workers.

Due to Omicron, the German cities of Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich canceled their fireworks celebrations and prohibited large gatherings. London, England; Edinburgh, Scotland; Rome, Italy; and New Delhi, India have all canceled their celebrations.

“Due to the surge in Covid cases, we’ve taken the difficult decision to cancel our NYE event in Trafalgar Square,” Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wrote on his Twitter account. “The safety of all Londoners must come first.”

A celebration event in Trafalgar Square is no longer planned for this New Year, according to London mayor Sadiq Khan (Aaron Chown/PA).

According to Health Minister Thanos Plevris, there will also not be a fireworks display over the Acropolis in Greece this year. The government shut down Christmas and New Year celebrations this year in Greece, according to Plevris.

Since it was discovered last month, Omicron has spread rapidly throughout the United States and around the world. However, more than a dozen deaths reported globally are associated with the variant. A recent study in the UK suggests that the variant is less severe than the Delta strain, while public health officials have reported fewer hospitalizations and fewer severe symptoms.

Germany’s health agency confirmed its first death just weeks after Omicron cases were confirmed. Germany’s Robert Koch Institute reported that the victim was aged 60 to 79.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said last week that Omicron makes up around 90 percent of COVID-19 infections in some parts of the U.S.

While New York City will not celebrate New Year’s this year, some other cities around the world will do so.

Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, plans to hold celebrations with restrictions, including requiring people to be vaccinated, tested within 72 hours, and registered ahead of time. According to reports, Cape Town, South Africa; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Las Vegas, Nevada; Sydney, Australia; and Taipei, Taiwan, will continue to celebrate, some with a few caveats.

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