Top White House coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci said Monday morning that Americans should cancel their New Year's Eve parties due to the omicron coronavirus variant spreading like wildfire.
"I would stay away from that," Fauci said when asked about New Year’s Eve celebrations.
"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 continued. "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 stay away from that this year."
Fauci's advice comes after many state and local officials told Americans that they should stay away from unvaccinated family members for Christmas, mask up around family members from other households or even cancel their Christmas gathering for a second year.
Louisiana's government told people to "mask indoors when not with your everyday household." Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser agreed, telling people to "wear masks indoors, even at small gatherings."
The Milwaukee Health Department, suggested people gather "with only fully vaccinated friends and family." And Philadelphia Health Commissioner Cheryl Bettigole said, "Please do not hold or attend holiday parties indoors, it's just too dangerous."
Current warnings for people to avoid normal holiday activities come after news that Americans' mental health is suffering a significant decline– a phenomenon many attribute to the virus mitigation measures.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a warning earlier this month about a growing youth mental health crisis. New government data, analyzed by the group Families Against Fentanyl, shows overdoses of the drug are now the leading cause of death among people between 18 and 45 – above COVID-19, car accidents, and any other cause of death.
Nearly a third of adults who took the online August/COVID Resilience Survey conducted by The Harris Poll said sometimes they are so stressed about the pandemic that they find it difficult to make basic decisions, and more than a third of them said it has been more stressful to make day-to-day decisions and major life decisions in comparison to life before the pandemic. Sixty-three percent of young adults said uncertainty about the near future causes them stress, and around half said the pandemic had made planning for the future feel impossible.
Yet Fauci said for those folks, the normalcy of a New Year's Eve party should not be in their plans.
"There will be other years to do that, but not this year," Fauci said.