Fauci: Avoid New Year’s Party ‘With All the Bells and Whistles’

Fauci: Avoid New Year's Parties 'With All the Bells and Whistles' Fauci: Avoid New Year's Parties 'With All the Bells and Whistles' Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

By Solange Reyner | Wednesday, 29 December 2021 04:08 PM

Dr. Anthony Fauci on Wednesday warned against large New Year’s Eve parties as COVID-19 cases surge in the U.S.

"If your plans are to go to a 40-to-50-person New Year’s Eve party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a happy New Year — I would strongly recommend that, this year, we do not do that," Fauci said during a White House press briefing on the coronavirus pandemic.

For smaller gatherings, Fauci warned that "although the risk is never zero in anything, the risk is low enough that we feel you should continue to go through with those plans of having a home-related vaccinated, boosted gathering with family and close friends who are also vaccinated and boosted."

The U.S. record for daily coronavirus cases was broken Tuesday, with the seven-day average topping 267,000, according to a New York Times database.

The previous U.S. daily cases record was set on Jan. 11, when the seven-day average was 251,232.

Fauci said studies suggest the omicron variant, while highly transmissible, causes less severe illness than the deadly delta strain.

“The data are encouraging, but still in many respects preliminary,” Fauci said.

But "we should not become complacent," he noted, because the "extremely high volume" of omicron cases could still overwhelm some healthcare systems.

"The risk of severe disease from any circulating variant, including omicron, is much, much higher for the unvaccinated," Fauci added. "And so, adults and children who are eligible, get vaccinated, and vaccinated people, get boosted when eligible."

Hospitalizations are rising, but not with the same speed as new cases.

Fauci added, "The pattern and disparity between cases and hospitalization strongly suggest that there will be a lower hospitalization-to-case ratio when the situation becomes more clear."