Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging Americans to cancel their New Year’s Eve parties as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to surge due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Dr. Fauci said that while small gatherings where everybody is fully vaccinated are relatively safe, large parties pose a risk of spreading the virus.
“If you were in a situation with a family setting, in your home, with family — parents, children, grandparents — and everyone is vaccinated and boosted, although the risk is never zero in anything, the risk is low enough that we feel you should continue to go through with those plans of having a home-related, vaccinated, boosted gathering with family and close friends who are also vaccinated and boosted,” Dr. Fauci said during a press briefing at the White House.
“If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50 person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a Happy New Year? I would strongly recommend that this year, we do not do that,” he added.
Dr. Fauci’s comments come as several cities have scaled back or canceled their annual New Year’s Eve festivities. Officials in Atlanta, Georgia, canceled the annual New Year’s Eve Peach Drop at Underground Atlanta because of the rising number of cases. In San Francisco, officials announced they decided to cancel their New Year’s Eve fireworks show due to the Omicron variant.
In New York City, the annual ball drop in Times Square will go on, but the event will be scaled back. The number of visitors will be limited to 15,000, and everybody will have to be fully vaccinated and wear masks during the outdoor event.