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Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Revelers crowd Times Square for New Year’s Eve countdown amid COVID-19 surge

Thousands of revelers crowded Times Square in New York City Friday night to ring in the new year as the United States is seeing a record surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant. 

Out of COVID-19 concerns, the annual countdown event was scaled back with visitor number reduced from 60,000 to 15,000 this year, dampened by the Omicron-fueled infection wave which is seeing daily case count average as many as 40,000 in the city. 

Organizers of the New Year’s Eve countdown event required all 15,000 visitors to present proof of full vaccination before entering. 

They also put up signs urging all visitors including those fully vaccinated to mask up. 

The revelers, many of whom had been gathering in Times Square since 08:00, was excited for the night’s event. 

“We are taking all the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) precautions, getting our boosters, staying masked, and getting tested when we get home,” said a reveler. 

They said that they all have the same New Year’s resolution, which is for the COVID-19 pandemic to end as soon as possible. 

(My New Year’s resolution is) for COVID to go away, like anyone else’s,” said another reveler. 

“My New Year’s resolution is to have a better year than 2021 and to kiss COVID goodbye forever,” another echoed.

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