Brittainy Newman / AP
Cities around the world are in the throes of a new COVID-19 crisis as the omicron variant triggers new spikes in coronavirus cases that many hoped were in the past.
In the United States, the alarming spike in infections is prompting city leaders, business leaders and even sports officials to withdraw from public events that would inevitably draw large crowds and potentially expose more people to the virus.
New York mayor to skip the usual pageantry
In New York City, mayor-elect Eric Adams, who hoped to break with tradition by holding his inauguration on January 1 inside a historic Brooklyn theater rather than on the steps of city hall, is now postponing the event.
âAll I need is a mattress and a floor to be mayor of New York City,â Adams said.
“I don’t need a grand opening,” he said, adding that it would be better “to forgo a grand opening because we don’t want to put people in a dangerous environment.”
Hockey players will not participate in the Winter Olympics
The National Hockey League doesn’t care so much about the public as it is about its own players. Several news sources have reported that the NHL is expected to announce that players will not compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics due to the pandemic, also reflecting concerns about the remainder of the season.
An epidemic among players has already caused a slew of games to be postponed and a vacation break earlier than usual. As of Saturday, there were more than 60 players in the COVID-19 protocol. All but one of the league’s players have been vaccinated.
A technological event is also affected
Renewed fears of COVID-19 have also reached the tech world. CES, an annual show hosted by the Consumer Technology Association held annually in Las Vegas, faces an increase in cancellations from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Meta Platforms Inc. (parent of Facebook), Twitter and Pinterest all announced separately on Tuesday that they would not be sending company representatives to the conference, despite organizers’ efforts to make it safe for attendees.
âDue to the increase in the number of Covid cases across the country over the past week, we have decided to cancel our in-person presence at CES next month,â Twitter said in a statement. “We will continue to actively monitor the situation in the new year and find other opportunities to connect with our customers and partners.”
Meta issued a similar statement, saying, “Out of caution and attention for our employees, we will not be attending CES in person due to the evolving public health issues related to Covid-19.”
Officials noted that the company had already planned to reduce its attendance at this year’s events, adding that it was exploring ways to participate virtually.