Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, encouraged the public on Monday to cancel New Year's Eve plans this weekend due to the threat from the omicron variant.
Fauci said people should stay away from parties because they cannot know the vaccination statuses of people in attendance.
"I have been telling people consistently that if you're vaccinated and boosted and you have a family setting, in the home with family and relatives, it's OK to gather," Fauci said on CNN's New Day. "But when you're talking about a New Year's Eve party, we have 30, 40, 50 people celebrating, you do not know the status of their vaccination, I would recommend strongly to stay away from that this year."
Fauci's comments come after the Christmas holiday saw state officials discouraging events with unvaccinated family members or encouraging wearing masks around people outside of immediate households, even at small gatherings. Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole encouraged people not to attend indoor events or gatherings at all during Christmas because it was "too dangerous," according to Fox News.
OMICRON SPREAD CAUSES THOUSANDS OF FLIGHT CANCELLATIONS AND DELAYS
The new advisory also follows omicron's effect on staff shortages for major airlines as workers call out sick, causing airlines to cancel thousands of flights during the holiday period, leaving many stranded.
Major New Year's Eve celebrations, such as the ball-dropping celebration in New York City, have already announced they will scale back the number of people allowed to attend in person. Normally, 58,000 are allowed to witness the ball drop in person, but this year there will be only 15,000, according to CNN.
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A mandate in New York City also went into effect Monday that requires all workers to have obtained at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and provide the evidence of the vaccine to their employer. Businesses that do not obey can face fines beginning at $1,000.