Despite record levels of COVID-19 infections in the city and around the country, Mayor Bill de Blasio stated Thursday that New York City will ring in 2022 in Times Square as planned.
“We want to show that we’re going ahead, and we want to show the world that New York City is battling its way through this,” de Blasio said on NBC’s “Today” show on Friday, his last day in office.
City authorities earlier announced plans for a scaled-back New Year’s Eve extravaganza with smaller crowds and vaccines necessary, after barring revelers from Times Square a year ago due to the epidemic.
While several cities have banned New Year’s Eve celebrations, de Blasio claims that New York City’s high COVID-19 vaccination rate allows masked, socially distant people to watch the ball drop in Times Square. “We need to send a message to the rest of the world.” He declared, “New York City is open.”
New COVID-19 cases in the United States have skyrocketed to their highest levels on record, averaging over 265,000 per day, thanks to the highly infectious omicron variation, which was initially identified as a variety of concern last month. According to New York state numbers, the city of New York recorded a record number of new, confirmed cases on Tuesday – more than 39,590.
De Blasio stated that the solution is to “double down on vaccines,” noting that 91 percent of adults in New York City had gotten at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Eric Adams, the city’s future mayor, will take the oath of office in Times Square on Saturday morning. Adams, like de Blasio, is a Democrat, and he plans to hold a press conference later Thursday to lay out his pandemic strategy.