The Radio City Christmas show is the latest New York City tradition forced to cancel because of. Performances of the “Christmas Spectacular” have been canceled for the rest of the season due to breakthrough cases in the cast.
The Friday announcement came hours after Radio City canceled all four of its Friday performances, and after several Broadway shows canceled their performances, underscoring how the coronavirus pandemic is once again disrupting life in the U.S.
One week ahead of Christmas, federal health officials are seeing an uptick in cases primarily fueled by the Delta variant, with fears that holiday gatherings and the highly infectious Omicron variant will create yet another surge.
The average number of cases is up 26% over the past two weeks, and hospitalizations climbed 3% in the past week — all with the Omicron variant representing just 3% of cases.
But Omicron is well on it’s way to becoming the dominant strain of the virus in the U.S. The number of states with Omicron COVID cases rose to 41 this week, Elise Preston reports for “CBS Saturday Morning.”
“And although Delta continues to circulate widely in the United States, Omicron is increasing rapidly, and we expect it to become the dominant strain in the United States as it has in other countries in the coming weeks,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the Omicron variant is in full force in New York City. More than 8,000 new cases were reported there on Thursday, a record for one day, although hospitalizations and deaths are far lower than at their peak in the spring of 2020.
The latest outbreak has hit sports, too,this weekend. On Friday, the league postponed three games until early next week, after more than 60 players on three teams tested positive.
The nationwide spike in cases is triggering a nationwide push for Americans to get booster shots.
The CDC put another spotlight on boosters Friday when a panel said a Pfizer or a Moderna booster is preferred over the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because of rare instances of blood clotting.
“Given the current state of the pandemic, both here and around the world, any vaccination is better than no vaccination,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.
In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown said they have about a three-week window to prepare for the next surge.
“I am calling on 1 million Oregonians to step up and get their booster dose by the end of January,” she said.
In the week before Christmas, long COVID test lines may be a sign that Americans are trying to play it safe this holiday season. 109 million people are expected to travel over the holidays — a 34% jump from last year, with six million going by air.
“Trying to get plenty of sleep, loading up on our vitamins, wearing our masks, keeping our hands clean, trying to keep our 6 feet and doing our part,” said one traveler, Louis Romero.