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.
Now is the time to act. Time is of the essence. https://t.co/yKlJWaWGFy
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 29, 2021