The world welcomes 2022 with muted celebrations as COVID-19 cases surge – CBS News

The world rang in 2022 with muted celebrations for another year, as the coronavirus pandemic — now fueled by the fast-spreading Omicron variant — continues to upset daily life across the globe. The new variant, which is now driving record case numbers in the U.S., forced many cities to tone down celebrations or cancel them altogether. 

New York City’s Times Square still held an event, but it only allowed a small fraction of the typical crowd, and all attendees over the age of 5 who do not qualify for an exemption were required to be fully vaccinated and wear face masks. Cities such as Atlanta and San Francisco canceled typical celebrations. 

In New Zealand, one of the first cities to kick off the new year, a light display replaced the traditional fireworks show. Australia proceeded with its seven-minute fireworks display over the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House, but limited access to downtown Sydney, the Associated Press reported. 

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans not to attend large gatherings on New Year’s Eve. 

“What I would suggest people do not do, is to go to very large 50-to-60-person parties where people are blowing whistles and all that sort of thing, and celebrating, and you don’t know the vaccination status of the people in that environment,” Fauci said.  

Australians Celebrate New Year's Eve 2021
Fireworks light up the sky over Sydney Harbour as the clock strikes midnight on January 01, 2022 in Sydney, Australia.  Brook Mitchell / Getty Images

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