“Practically speaking, what that means is if you go to a party with five or more people, almost certainly there’s going to be somebody with Covid-19 at that party.”
Scientists now know coronavirus “can linger in the air for minutes to hours,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.
Guests might not wear masks all the time: Whether they’re toasting champagne at midnight or nibbling on snacks all night long, partygoers will likely take their masks off — if they’re wearing one at all.
“If you have a party in your neighborhood, or if you just invite some friends over, there’s a pretty high risk,” Hotez said.
“We see severe illness among healthy, young adults with no apparent underlying causes,” Hotez said.
“Whether that’s due to … a higher dose of the virus, whether they have genetic alterations they don’t know about — we just don’t understand. So we can’t reliably predict who’s going to handle this virus well, and who doesn’t.”
Other complications can include “long-term vascular injury, cardiovascular injury, lung injury, neurological effects, also cognitive impairments,” Hotez said.
Revelers might sing or shout: Singing and shouting can be dangerously effective ways of hurling coronavirus into the air.
New Year’s parties are ‘a Covid-19 dream’
Because coronavirus is highly contagious, “it doesn’t take much for this to spiral out of control,” Hotez said.
“This is a Covid-19 dream for the virus, unfortunately,” Hotez said.
“All of these reasons are important reasons why we should not be gathering on this New Year’s Eve.”
Is there any way to celebrate New Year’s safely?
— Have a virtual party with friends and celebrate the countdown together.
— Plan a neighborhood countdown to midnight. Neighbors can go outside and cheer from the front of their homes.
— Pick up a special meal from a local restaurant to share with your household.
— Watch celebrations on TV or online.
— Call, text or leave voicemails for friends and family wishing them a happy new year.
If you already have plans for a big party, don’t be afraid to cancel them to ensure a healthy start to 2021.
And don’t worry, this will probably be the last time health experts beg you to hunker down for New Year’s Eve.
“Once we start getting vaccinated, we’ll be in a much better position by the middle of next year,” Hotez said. “And we can have a much happier New Year’s 2022.”