Las Vegas going ahead with New Year’s Eve bash despite COVID surge

Nation/world
Fireworks illuminate the skyline over the Las Vegas Strip during an eight-minute-long pyrotechnics show put on by Fireworks by Grucci titled "America's Party" during a New Year's Eve celebration on Jan. 1, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Fireworks illuminate the skyline over the Las Vegas Strip during an eight-minute-long pyrotechnics show put on by Fireworks by Grucci titled “America’s Party” during a New Year’s Eve celebration on Jan. 1, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.(Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Las Vegas isn’t canceling or scaling back plans for New Year’s Eve gatherings.

More than 300,000 visitors are expected in town for events including a New Year’s Eve fireworks show on the Las Vegas Strip that was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Thousands of ticketholders also are expected at a multi-stage outdoor music event beneath a canopy light show at the downtown casino pedestrian mall.

In announcing Wednesday that the show will go on, Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft said: “If you’re sick, stay at home. If you’re indoors, wear a mask.”

Las Vegas regional health officials reported 2,201 new coronavirus cases — the most in one day since last Jan. 11. New cases and deaths in Las Vegas have been trending up.

Meanwhile, new COVID cases nationwide have soared to their highest level on record at over 265,000 per day on average, a surge driven largely by the highly contagious omicron variant.

And, new cases per day have more than doubled over the past two weeks in the U.S., eclipsing the old mark of 250,000, set in mid-January, according to data kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The fast-spreading mutant version of the virus has cast a pall over Christmas and New Year’s, forcing communities to scale back or call off their festivities just weeks after it seemed as if Americans were about to enjoy an almost normal holiday season. Thousands of flights have been canceled amid staffing shortages blamed on the virus.

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