The mayor of the city, Bill de Blasio, confirmed the adjustments in the capacity of the event and reiterated that only those who have been vaccinated will be able to participate.

The famous New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square, New York, will be drastically reduced by the pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday, as the Omicron variant fuels an “astonishing” escalation of COVID-19 cases.

Typically some 58,000 New Yorkers gather to witness the fall of the huge ball heralding the arrival of the new year, but next week the capacity will be reduced to 15,000 attendees , who mustuse a mask and prove that they have been vaccinated.

Additional health measures “will keep the fully vaccinated crowd safe and healthy as we ring in the New Year,” de Blasio said.

Times Square was practically empty on New Year’s Eve last year, and only essential workers and guests could see the ball drop from areas with social distancing.

Several cities in the world such as Paris and London have canceled their festivities to receive the New Year due to the advance of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus.

New York reported a “staggering” number of new COVID cases, nearly 11,000, across the city’s five boroughs on Wednesday, the mayor noted.

The New York City Hall asked the federal government for urgent help due to the impressive increase in COVID-19 cases.

On Sunday the city reported a record number of new COVID-19 infections with 5,731 cases in a single day and 160 new hospital admissions. Since the appearance of the new Omicron variant , infections have soared in the five districts of the city. The first reactions to the new wave of infections are beginning to be seen . Over the weekend they canceled the traditional Christmas show at Radio City Hall and the comedy show Saturday Night Live, which is always recorded with a live audience, was recorded only before a small group.

Faced with this situation, De Blasio has said that the White House must invoke the Defense of Production law so that city residents have direct access to monoclonal treatments and COVID 19 tests that can be carried out in homes. In addition, he asked the federal health authorities to expedite the approval process for the treatment with pills that the Pfizer laboratory has developed.

“ We need help right now . We need access to monoclonal antibody treatments. New York residents should receive these treatments as soon as possible, ”De Blasio said in front of the press.

At the moment, the city has decided to invest 10 million dollars in a campaign to promote vaccination, and increasing the availability of hours in the testing centers. But the purchase of monoclonal antibody treatments can only be done, by law, the federal government . That is why the municipalities and states are putting pressure on the Biden administration to receive an item of what has already been bought as soon as possible.

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