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New Year's Eve goes virtual, CDC offers ideas and guidance

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Posted at 5:36 AM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 08:11:31-05

New Year’s Eve fireworks, events and gatherings are going virtual this year, to slow the surging number of cases of coronavirus. Below is video from earlier Thursday in Australia, which rang in the new year at 8 am ET.

This includes the iconic Times Square New Year’s Eve party, they have a Times Square Virtual New Year’s Eve app to play games and countdown to midnight.

The number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have bumped up after most holidays this year, including Labor Day and Thanksgiving.

With the predicted post-Christmas surge coming, and many regions of the country experiencing full hospitals, health experts are urging people to stay home and celebrate with their household and online with friends and family.

The CDC has guidance for Americans to celebrate safely, and include ideas like virtual concerts, having dinner over video chat, or having a dance party with the people in the house.

Other ideas include:

  • Have a pajama party and watch your favorite movies or play games.
  • Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household.
  • Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight. People who live with each other can stand in front of their house and cheer together at midnight.
  • Take care of yourself and do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or taking a walk.

If people do plan to get together with others outside their household, the CDC has some advice. It includes things like limiting the number of guests, setting expectations about safety precautions at the event, celebrating outdoors, and “it’s okay if you decide to postpone or cancel your gathering. Do what’s best for you.”

“Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19,” the CDC guidelines for a safe New Year’s Eve state.

They also repeat recommendations known to slow the spread of coronavirus, like frequent hand washing and wearing a mask, indoors and out, and to carry an extra mask if the first one becomes wet from breathing, snow or rain.

There have been more than 1.2 million new cases of the coronavirus recorded in the U.S. in just the last 7 days, according to the CDC.