With NYC’s Positivity Rate ‘Off the Chart’; Mark Levine Says Ban Crowds Completely From Times Square Celebration

Photo by Anthony Quintano, via wikimedia.

By Carol Tannenhauser

Just a week ago, on December 23rd, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced “scaled-back plans” for NYC’s Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration, adding protections such as full vaccination and mask requirements and reduced crowds, to ensure safety in the midst of a surging COVID positivity rate.

“Normally hosting approximately 58,000 people in viewing areas, this year’s celebration will host approximately 15,000 people,” a press release explained, “and visitors won’t be allowed entry until 3:00 PM, much later than past years.”

But this morning, December 30th, The New York Times reported that the positivity rate in the city is now ‘literally ‘off the chart.The chart goes up to only 20 percent, and the seven-day average stood at 20.97 percent.”

Given the “astounding spread” of the virus,” newly elected Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine is calling on the City to cancel in-person attendance at the Times Square event completely.

“Mr. Levine (who was himself recovering from his second bout of Covid, despite being vaccinated and boosted) said he thought the city should not have an in-person crowd in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.”

“We are not doing enough to slow this,” tweeted Levine, who is an outgoing UWS City Councilmember. He told The Times that “illness among health care workers was causing a ‘squeeze’ on hospitals just as caseloads were rising rapidly. The work force, he said, is already ‘depleted, exhausted and in short supply,’” adding that the city was ‘probably just a couple days away from surpassing the peak of last winter in hospitalization.’”

In his tweet, Levine listed other actions NYC should take to “slow omicron.” Click on the tweet to see his suggestions.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Paul says:

      In addition to the numbers we know, how many are mildly sick and choosing not to get on a 2 hour line in winter to learn the obvious result after a 3 – 5 day wait?

      If South Africa’s experience holds, the wave will quickly peak and begin to recede.

      Anyone want to surf in a tsunami?

      • joe_the_accountant says:

        Finally someone not taken in by the hysteria. People need to follow the science not the hysterics.

    2. Otis says:

      I never thought I’d agree with Mark Levine about anything but he’s 100% correct about cancelling the NYE celebrations.

      Even if (and it’s a big “if”) the Times Square gathering can somehow be done safely it sends the wrong message that mass gatherings are OK and people can let their guard down.

    3. dannyb says:

      Mr. Levine is right.

      15,000 is still about 14,895 too many.

    4. ml says:

      Also – NYPD, EMS and the MTA are short-staffed due to Covid which will impact on crowd management, safety, emergency response and transportation to/from…

    5. MarkUWS says:

      Vaccinated with a booster shot and he still contracts it. When will reality set in and people realize that lockdowns, vaccines, boosters, and masks all do nothing to stop the spread of this new variant. If these things work, why are we in the current spread state we’re in? Because they don’t work and everyone is so invested in the party-line narrative that they can’t bear to admit they were wrong.

      Viruses are viruses and this is what they do. People need to get a grip and accept it like many of the Nordic countries have done.

      • Paul says:

        You’re erecting a complete straw man here.

        Everyone knew that Omicron wasn’t going to be stopped by vaccination, just limited in virulence.
        But isn’t that enough?

        And as to masking, just look around and you’ll see that at least a quarter of the people you pass aren’t properly masked. Will they get sick, and transmit the disease? Of course. And will some who properly mask get sick? Yeah, especially if they hang with people who don’t.

        BUT: In the interim as long as properly masking can help, DO IT.

    6. LL says:

      Wow. Mr. Levine has had it twice, with the booster. Hope he didn’t get too sick.

      Are the fireworks cancelled as well?

    7. LivableCity says:

      Thank you for your ceaseless work, Mark Levine. We do not need to be afraid. But we do need to ACT to stop or slow the spread. Why?? (1) to protect the most vulnerable, for whom this may not be a mild illness, and (2) to lessen the effects of mass illness on our healthcare and essential workers, who cannot “stay home”. We just have to do this until this wave passes. It wasn’t long in South Africa. Folks, there are a lot of vulnerable people who need protection and support, from unvaccinated kids to their families to corrections officers and the incarcerated, to workers and residents in nursing homes, MTA workers, etc etc….please take care, so the focus can be on our fellow New Yorkers for whom being safe is harder and/or riskier.

    8. JOAN DANIELS says:

      Save the CHILDREN-SAVE THE SENIORS. SAVE YOURSELF No New Years Eve gathering.

    9. Hassan says:

      They estimate that 23% of new cases are Omicron, down from original estimate of 90%. That means, their is a significant amount of Delta cases. It’s proven that none of these restrictions and mandates really do anything. But they double down. With no care of who it hurts and whose it will destroy.