Top White House coronavirus adviser Anthony Fauci said on CNN Monday morning that Americans should cancel their New Year’s Eve parties due to the increasing spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, as Americans struggle to find some normalcy as the pandemic wraps up its second year.
“I would stay away from that,” Fauci said when asked about the annual parties on CNN’s “New Day.”
“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 on the heels of many state and local officials telling Americans that they should shun unvaccinated family members for Christmas, mask up around family members from other households or even cancel their Christmas gathering altogether for the second straight year.
Louisiana’s government told people to “mask indoors when not with your everyday household.” Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser recommended the same, telling people to “wear masks indoors, even at small gatherings.”
The Milwaukee Health Department, meanwhile, said people should 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.”
These warnings for people to avoid normal holiday activities follow news that Americans’ mental health is significantly deteriorating – a phenomenon many attribute to the virus mitigation measures.
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy earlier this month issued a warning of a growing youth mental health crisis. And 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.
“It’s the crushing impact that our COVID policies have had on kids and young children… even teenagers,” CBS News National Legal Correspondent Jan Crawford said on “Face the Nation” Sunday when asked what she thinks is the biggest underreported story of 2021. “They have sacrificed the most… The risk of suicide attempts among girls, now up 51% this year. Black kids nearly twice as likely as White kids to die by suicide. School closures, lockdown, cancellation of sports.”
The effects of the pandemic are not just hitting children. According to an American Psychological Association survey of “Stress in America,” nearly 50% of more than 3,000 adult millennial respondents reported that they are struggling with daily tasks as coronavirus continues to spread.
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 struggle 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.