Excerpted from The Guardian by Victoria Bekiempis

While the crystal-encrusted New Year’s Eve ball will drop in Times Square at midnight on 31 December, its descent will diverge from tradition: this sparkling, 12-foot sphere will be greeted by empty streets due to Covid-19, and not hundreds of thousands of revelers.

New York City authorities have announced that Times Square will not be open to the public on New Year’s Eve. The party and live performances will go on, albeit virtually: Those wishing to attend can stream online, or watch on television.

This dramatic shift – New Year’s Eve gatherings have taken place at the so-called Crossroads of the World since 1904 – is not unique to Manhattan.

US cities are changing how they ring in 2021 as Covid-19 cases and deaths surge nationwide. The most recent Johns Hopkins University data reports 19,448,626 US cases and 336,947 deaths.

The cancelation of in-person events could be key in preventing disease, given that millions have recently flouted warnings against holiday travel and social gatherings. Numerous mass get-togethers could make things even worse.

“The safest way to celebrate the new year is to celebrate at home with the people who live with you or virtually with friends and family. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said.

The annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show on Las Vegas’s famed strip was canceled, and less of this area will be closed to traffic than in years past. Downtown, people who want to mill about the Fremont Street Experience entertainment area may do so – after paying for a $25 “security-fee” wristband – but there won’t be live music, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. For entire article click here