Mayor says Times Square will continue to show its business despite the virus surge

NEW YORK (AP), New York City will ring the new year in Times Square, as planned, despite record COVID-19 infection rates in the city and across the country, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

Mayor says Times Square will continue to show its business despite the virus surge

De Blasio said, "We want the world to see that we are moving forward" on NBC's Today show.

Officials in the city had previously banned revelers from Times Square a few years ago because of the pandemic. They also announced plans to hold a smaller New Year's party with fewer people and required vaccinations.

Atlanta and other cities have cancelled New Year's Eve celebrations. However, de Blasio stated that New York City's high COVID-19 vaccine rate makes it possible to host masked, socially distant crowds to see the ball drop in Times Square. "We have to send a message out to the world. He said that New York City was open.

New COVID-19 cases have increased to over 265,000 per hour, thanks to the highly contagious Omicron variant. According to New York state statistics, New York City had a record number (over 39,590) of confirmed cases on Tuesday.

De Blasio stated that the solution is to "double down" on vaccinations and pointed out that 91% New York City adults have had at least one COVID-19 dose.

Eric Adams, the city's next mayor will take the oath in Times Square on Saturday. Adams, a Democrat, like de Blasio was planning a news conference to discuss his pandemic plans.

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