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Despite the Times Square ball drop, COVID-19 keeps the throng down to a manageable size in New York in 2022.

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A New Year’s Eve tradition returned to Times Square as confetti and applause filled the air as New York City welcomed the new year and waved goodbye to the year 2021.

Thousands of New Year’s revellers stood shoulder to shoulder in a slight chill to witness a 6-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals, descend above a crowd of about 15,000 in-person spectators—far fewer than the many tens of thousands of revellers who usually descend on the world-famous square to bask in the lights and hoopla of the nation’s marquee New Year’s Eve event.

An anxious country was trying to raise its spirits that the pandemic’s darkest days were behind it as public health experts warned Friday against uncontrolled celebrations amid an increase in COVID-19 cases from the omicron form.

Because of the epidemic, the public was barred from last year’s ball drop.

Fewer people came, but those who did came in droves, many of whom had travelled long distances to be a part of the festivities. An electronic billboard-lit confetti cloud whirled in the wind on a warm winter night in Manhattan.

Mary Gonzalez sat a few feet apart from the throng, hoping to avoid anyone who could be spreading the illness unknowingly.

“I’m delighted that 2021 is done since it caused a lot of troubles for everyone,” said Gonzalez, who was coming from Mexico City and wanted to see an American tradition. “We’re hoping for a lot better year in 2022 than we had this year.”

A tradition of popping corks, clinking beers, joyful hugs, and rekindled optimism for a better future was celebrated as the clock struck midnight and the ball dropped.

Even though the coronavirus was back, municipal authorities insisted on conducting the big New Year’s Eve party in Times Square to show the city’s resiliency in the face of the outbreak.

In contrast, in 2022 the epidemic will once again darken an already uncertain future.

Even as other towns like Atlanta had opted to cancel their celebrations, there were fears that the city could have to cancel this year’s fiesta due to a high number of COVID-19 cases in the days preceding up to it.

 

Nineteen cases have reached record highs in the United States, with an average daily increase of almost 265,000. On Wednesday and Thursday, roughly 44,000 new, confirmed cases were recorded in New York City, according to state authorities.

Attendees were compelled to wear masks and show proof of vaccination by officials. Because of widespread illnesses, organisers had anticipated that more than 50,000 people would be able to participate.

In order to avoid performing in Times Square on Friday night after testing positive for COVID-19, rap musician and actor LL Cool J pulled out of the event.

The festivities in Times Square, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, would “show the world that New York City is battling our way through this,” as he stepped down from office at the stroke of midnight.

Eric Adams, the next mayor of New York City, took his oath of office at Times Square just after the ball dropped. On the main platform, he made a brief appearance to reinforce the resilience of the city.

“It’s terrific when New York shows the rest of the country how we come back,” he remarked of the occasion. “We proved to the entire world who we are. We’re out of this world. This is an incredible city, and you better believe that New Yorkers are poised for a tremendous comeback.

Ordinary folks shared that optimistic outlook.

“I look back and I see it as a hectic year, but it wasn’t a bad year,” said Lynn Cafarchio, who braved the throng with her husband Pete to attend the celebrations.

Her job as a tour guide in New York City was cut short when the economy collapsed and tourism sank.

“We’re delighted that 2021 is coming to an end, but we’re looking forward to the new year,” she remarked.

Crowds were less than they had been in previous years, but they still gathered to watch the ball drop.

Nursing student Ashley Ochoa and her fiancee, Jose Avelar, flew from California’s Central Valley to be at Times Square.

‘But I mean, I am here today, so that’s what I am glad for,’ Ochoa said of COVID holding back a lot of stuff for him.

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Written by Arun Sharma

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