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Here’s what Dr. Fauci recommends for New Year’s Eve gatherings amid the Omicron surge

President Joe Biden's medical adviser, Anthony Fauci.Al Drago/Bloomberg

Public health officials have urged vaccinated Americans to gather with their families during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, arguing that vaccines — and especially boosters — offer a strong degree of protection even amid the latest COVID-19 surge.

But what about New Year’s Eve, when many revelers are expected to head out to crowded bars to raise a glass to 2022?

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Dr. Anthony Fauci recommended that people “stay away” from large New Year’s Eve gatherings where the vaccination status of others is unknown.

“When you’re talking about a New Year’s Eve party where you have thirty, forty, fifty people celebrating, you do not know the status of their vaccination, I would recommend strongly: stay away from that this year. There will be other years to do that, but not this year,” said Fauci.

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Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, instead encouraged those who are vaccinated and have received a booster shot to celebrate at home “with family and relatives.”

With a surge in cases, some cities have decided to scale back their New Year’s Eve celebrations. Last week, New York City announced it will limit crowds and add more health and safety measures at the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, an event that usually attracts thousands of visitors.

In Boston however, fireworks and other largely outdoor in-person celebrations are set to return this year. First Night Boston officials said their New Year’s event will feature fireworks, ice sculptures, a parade, and “a wide range of local musicians, artists, and performers.” But some COVID safety measures will be in place, including an indoor mask mandate.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her @cprignano.