Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that Americans avoid large-scale gatherings on New Year’s Eve, advising instead that people have smaller parties with people who are vaccinated and have received booster shots against COVID-19.
Because the omicron variant continues to spread across the nation, Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, said it was more prudent for people to ring in the new year within a close family setting, according to The Hill. Fauci’s recommendation is similar to the advice he gave for the Christmas holiday.
“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,” Fauci told reporters during a White House update on the pandemic.
Fauci’s remarks come as cities scale back their New Year’s Eve celebrations. New York City, for example, imposed a maximum of 15,000 people at its Times Square gathering; the event typically draws 58,000. New York revelers will also be required to wear a mask and show proof of vaccination.
Los Angeles has canceled plans for a live audience at its New Year’s Eve celebration and will stream it instead, CNBC reported. London, Paris, Rome, Tokyo and other cities around the world have also canceled their New Year’s Eve events.
Fauci reiterated his cautionary approach in an interview with CNN, noting that “There will be other years to do that, but not this year.”
Fauci, who also serves as the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, added that he hopes the number of new cases and hospitalizations due to the omicron variant will begin to drop.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show more than 176,000 cases are reported daily in the U.S., according to a seven-day moving average.
Nearly 73% of the U.S. population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while around 62% are fully vaccinated, the CDC said. More than 65 million Americans — 31.5% — have received a booster.
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