The world is ringing in 2022 with muted celebrations for another year, as the coronavirus pandemic — now fueled by the fast-spreading Omicron variant — continues to upset daily life across the globe. The new variant, which is now driving record case numbers in the U.S., forced many cities to tone down celebrations or cancel them altogether.
New York City's Times Square still plans to hold an event, but it will allow only a small fraction of the typical crowd, and all attendees over the age of 5 who do not qualify for an exemption are required to be fully vaccinated and wear face masks. Cities such as Atlanta and San Francisco have canceled typical celebrations.
In New Zealand, one of the first cities to kick off the new year, a light display replaced the traditional fireworks show. Australia proceeded with its seven-minute fireworks display over the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House, but limited access to downtown Sydney, the Associated Press reported.