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US begins celebrations despite Omicron ‘blizzard’ which saw 587,143 cases over 24 hours

Thousands of revelers in Las Vegas welcomed in 2022 with fireworks as the West Coast rang in the new year with somber celebrations amid surging COVID cases.   

Strong winds, predicted to gust up to 45 mph, almost put a damper on New Year’s Eve celebrations in Las Vegas, where the famed fireworks show on the Strip was nearly canceled.

But the eight-minute, choreographed pyrotechnic display went on as the clock struck midnight as winds died down.  

The celebrations continued in Vegas even after officials reported 3,363 new cases on Friday. 

The spike broke the Southern Nevada Health District’s previous record for the most cases reported in a single day, AP reported. 

Celebrations in Los Angeles were subdued after the county recorded more than 27,000 new cases on the final day of 2021. 

The annual New Year’s Eve celebration at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles was reduced to a no-live-audience even due to the COVID-19 surge. 

In another big New Year’s Eve event on the Santa Monica Pier, revelers were forced to enjoy the fireworks display from the nearby beaches or online. 

In San Francisco, the fireworks display was cancelled for a second year in a row due to COVID-19, leaving residents of the Bay Area to search for different ways to celebrate.   

But on the East Coast, New Yorkers welcomed 2022 by watching the famous ball drop in Times Square and sent off Mayor Bill de Blasio, who danced with his wife in his final act as leader of the city, after the countdown.

The traditional refrain of Frank Sinatra’s ‘New York, New York’ serenaded a crowd limited to just 15,000 in the Crossroads of the World as fireworks exploded and the confetti fell. 

De Blasio’s term ended at the stroke of midnight, and his successor Eric Adams was sworn in, holding aloft a framed photo of his mother.

Adams was flanked by his son Jordan, who held a family Bible, and his partner Tracey. 

The unpopular outgoing mayor was seen waltzing with his wife Chirlane McCray wearing a face mask, in accordance with his own rule, but many in the crowd ignored his mask mandate. 

The crowds gathered to watch the famous ball drop, and move forward into 2022 – despite the surge in Omicron cases, and concern from health experts.  

New York on New Year’s Eve saw a record of 76,555 COVID cases.

Despite the rising cases, partygoers huddled amid the neon lights in the balmy weather, wearing funky hats, bead necklaces and 2022 glasses.

The city has limited the number of people it lets into Times Square to witness the .  

The popular ‘Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022′ entertained the crowd, featuring some live and taped performances from past New Year’s Eves, including the rock band Journey taking the stage before the six-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals, made its descent.    

Officials said those attending the spectacle would have to wear masks and show proof of vaccination over caution of the widespread infections.

Fireworks explode over the Strip during New Year’s Eve celebrations on Saturday to ring in 2022 

A dressed up couple makes their way down the Las Vegas Strip as they prepare to ring in the New Year

A dressed up couple makes their way down the Las Vegas Strip as they prepare to ring in the New Year 

A colorful groups light up the  Las Vegas Strip as they prepare to ring in the new year despite heavy winds threatening to ruin celebrations

A colorful groups light up the  Las Vegas Strip as they prepare to ring in the new year despite heavy winds threatening to ruin celebrations 

A boyfriend snaps a pic of his girlfriend in Las Vegas as the Los Angeles couple travel to Vegas to ring in the new year

A boyfriend snaps a pic of his girlfriend in Las Vegas as the Los Angeles couple travel to Vegas to ring in the new year 

People ride a bus in Las Vegas decked out in their celebratory gear as they prepare to welcome in 2022

People ride a bus in Las Vegas decked out in their celebratory gear as they prepare to welcome in 2022

Police officers patrol as people walk along a street at Granville Entertainment District on New Year's Eve in Vancouver

Police officers patrol as people walk along a street at Granville Entertainment District on New Year’s Eve in Vancouver 

Fireworks are seen after midnight in the Los Angeles skyline on January 1st to ring in the new year on the west coast

Fireworks are seen after midnight in the Los Angeles skyline on January 1st to ring in the new year on the west coast

Revelers are seen in New York City's Times Square, ignoring the mask mandate promised by Bill de Blasio

Revelers are seen in New York City’s Times Square, ignoring the mask mandate promised by Bill de Blasio

De Blasio, who brought in a mask mandate for the Times Square celebrations, even kissed his wife with his mask on at midnight - while others were noticeably more lax with their mask observance

De Blasio, who brought in a mask mandate for the Times Square celebrations, even kissed his wife with his mask on at midnight – while others were noticeably more lax with their mask observance

Confetti falls at midnight in New York City's Times Square

Confetti falls at midnight in New York City’s Times Square

Ashanti, Ja Rule and Ryan Seacrest are seen on stage in Times Square as New York City welcomed the new year

Ashanti, Ja Rule and Ryan Seacrest are seen on stage in Times Square as New York City welcomed the new year

Rap artist and actor LL Cool J was supposed to be among the performers taking the stage in Times Square, but pulled out of the event because he had tested positive for COVID. 

Performers taking the stage included headliner KT Tunstall, a duet between Ja Rule and Ashanti, a collection of songs by Journey as well as performances by artists such as Chloe and KAROL G.   

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have soared to their highest levels on record at over 265,000 per day on average. 

Bill de Blasio, the outgoing mayor, is seen dancing with his wife Chirlane McCray as midnight chimed and the Times Square ball dropped

Bill de Blasio, the outgoing mayor, is seen dancing with his wife Chirlane McCray as midnight chimed and the Times Square ball dropped

The mayor - in his final act before stepping down - and his wife are seen launching the ball drop

The mayor – in his final act before stepping down – and his wife are seen launching the ball drop

Celebrations at midnight in Times Square, as the new year begun

Celebrations at midnight in Times Square, as the new year begun

New York City itself reported a record number of new, confirmed cases — nearly 44,000 — on Wednesday and a similar number Thursday, according to New York state figures.

Other major US cities including Boston, Las Vegas, Nashville and Philadelphia were also seen ringing in the new year with large crowds seen celebrating.

This comes after the nation smashed a global infection record on Thursday as 647,067 new cases were reported.

Revelers watch the three-hour mark fireworks in Times Square as they await for the ball to drop at midnight

Revelers watch the three-hour mark fireworks in Times Square as they await for the ball to drop at midnight

Crowds continue to gather in participation of the New Year's Eve ball drop

Crowds continue to gather in participation of the New Year’s Eve ball drop

Revelers donned in New Year's Eve celebratory garb wave in excitement

Revelers donned in New Year’s Eve celebratory garb wave in excitement

The New Year's Eve celebration kicks off in NYC's Time Square in anticipation of the iconic ball drop at midnight to ring in 2022

The New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off in NYC’s Time Square in anticipation of the iconic ball drop at midnight to ring in 2022

The New York celebration continues despite the surge in state COVID cases which saw a recent record of 76,555 on Friday

The New York celebration continues despite the surge in state COVID cases which saw a recent record of 76,555 on Friday

Mariah Carey performs at Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022

Mariah Carey performs at Dick Clark’s Primetime New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2022

'New Year's Rockin' Eve' hosts Ryan Seacrest and Liza Koshy kick off the celebrations in Times Square

‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ hosts Ryan Seacrest and Liza Koshy kick off the celebrations in Times Square 

Thousands of spectators pack in for the New Years Eve celebration in Times Square despite the surge in COVID cases and the presence of the new Omicron variant

Thousands of spectators pack in for the New Years Eve celebration in Times Square despite the surge in COVID cases and the presence of the new Omicron variant 

Despite the surge of attendees, COVID protocols were put in place with masks and full vaccination status required for entry

Despite the surge of attendees, COVID protocols were put in place with masks and full vaccination status required for entry 

Spectators wear traditional New Year's Eve garb including 2022 themed glasses, hats and scarves

Spectators wear traditional New Year’s Eve garb including 2022 themed glasses, hats and scarves

The crowd will however remain reduced due to the effects of the Omicron surge hitting NYC and the rest of the US

The crowd will however remain reduced due to the effects of the Omicron surge hitting NYC and the rest of the US

As part of the attendance requirement, spectators must remain masked and have proof of vaccination

As part of the attendance requirement, spectators must remain masked and have proof of vaccination

Masked NYPD officers pose in 2022 glasses at the Times Square subway station

Masked NYPD officers pose in 2022 glasses at the Times Square subway station 

Couple Alexandra and Jose Vargas share a New Year's Eve kiss in Times Square

Couple Alexandra and Jose Vargas share a New Year’s Eve kiss in Times Square 

The New Year’s celebration comes after last year’s celebration had been closed to the public because of the pandemic.   

‘We are very excited to welcome back visitors to Times Square this New Year’s Eve,’ said Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance. 

‘Our goal is to have a safe and responsible event for the world to see.’   

Officials with the NYPD are continuing to enforce public health safety for the event due to the rising number of cases in the city.  

Authorities will check to ensure attendees are adhering to COVID guidelines by wearing masks as well as checking their vaccination status upon arrival.  

These new security measures have been formed to protect the health of those in attendance as compared to past New Year’s events.

However, officers will continue to track and monitor potential terrorist as well as other security threats if necessary. 

But 2022 begins just as the year prior began — with the pandemic clouding an already uncertain future.

Doubts swirled about whether the city would have to cancel this year’s bash, as the city posted record numbers of COVID cases in the days leading to it, even as some cities like Atlanta had decided to cancel their own celebrations.   

The 2022 sign that will be lit on top of a building on New Year's Eve is displayed in Times Square preparation for the event

The 2022 sign that will be lit on top of a building on New Year’s Eve is displayed in Times Square preparation for the event

Masked NYC partygoers bear 2022 glasses and fun 'Happy New Year' headbands

Masked NYC partygoers bear 2022 glasses and fun ‘Happy New Year’ headbands

Revelers brace the NYC winter cold in anticipation of the New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square

Revelers brace the NYC winter cold in anticipation of the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square 

Spectators will continue to swarm in to watch the 6-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals descend above them

Spectators will continue to swarm in to watch the 6-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals descend above them 

Internet sensation Liza Koshy is co-hosting 'New Year's Rockin' Eve' with Ryan Seacrest

Internet sensation Liza Koshy is co-hosting ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ with Ryan Seacrest

Pop singer Ashanti is seen rehearsing for the NYC New Year's Eve celebration

Pop singer Ashanti is seen rehearsing for the NYC New Year’s Eve celebration

Rapper Ja Rule rehearses before the start of the New Year's Eve celebration on Times Square

Rapper Ja Rule rehearses before the start of the New Year’s Eve celebration on Times Square 

The Sino-American Friendship Association presents a Chinese cultural performance from Henan, China for the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration

The Sino-American Friendship Association presents a Chinese cultural performance from Henan, China for the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea joins in on the festivities

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea joins in on the festivities 

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of new cases in America are of the Omicron variant, which was first discovered last month by South African health officials.

The U.S. is now averaging 300,387 new Covid cases per day, a pandemic record and the first time the 300,000 mark has been reached in America.  

New York state recorded 76,500 COVID cases on Friday, up from yesterday’s record of 67,000, governor Kathy Hochul announced. 

Currently there are 3,925 New Yorkers in hospital and 80 people died yesterday from Covid, the governor said.

However, the surge in cases has not stopped the celebration from continuing with the hopes of a mild year with COVID in store. 

‘I don’t believe in shutdowns,’ de Blasio told the Today show on Thursday. 

‘We have to fight our way through this.’ 

De Blasio’s statement is in sharp contrast to his actions taken during the pandemic, when New York City shut down for months in 2020. 

Lines of traffic jampacked the city streets throughout the day in preparation for the mega-holiday event

Lines of traffic jampacked the city streets throughout the day in preparation for the mega-holiday event

The New Year's Eve Ball is illuminated and elevated near a '2022 is here' sign for a final test ahead of New Year's Eve on Friday

The New Year’s Eve Ball is illuminated and elevated near a ‘2022 is here’ sign for a final test ahead of New Year’s Eve on Friday

Teddy, a 12-year-old miniature poodle wearing 2022 glasses, sits on West 47th Street ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday afternoon

Teddy, a 12-year-old miniature poodle wearing 2022 glasses, sits on West 47th Street ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday afternoon

Revelers take photos with Times Square staple The Naked Cowboy as they prepare for tonight's ball drop to ring in 2022

Revelers take photos with Times Square staple The Naked Cowboy as they prepare for tonight’s ball drop to ring in 2022

The crowd starts getting pumped up, including a man who pulls down his mask to cheer ahead of tonight's New Year Eve celebrations in Times Square

The crowd starts getting pumped up, including a man who pulls down his mask to cheer ahead of tonight’s New Year Eve celebrations in Times Square

Revelers wait in social distancing pens in Times Square ahead of celebrating New Year's Eve on Friday as crowds begin to form

Revelers wait in social distancing pens in Times Square ahead of celebrating New Year’s Eve on Friday as crowds begin to form

A couple wearing face masks and funky hats look on ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday

A couple wearing face masks and funky hats look on ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday

New York City’s new mayor, Eric Adams, expressed hope on Thursday that 2022 would be ‘a new beginning of our resiliency.’ 

College students and sisters Mary and Vanessa Anyakwo were guardedly optimistic, too, as they took in Times Square on an outing from their home in suburban Elmsford, New York.

‘I feel a lot more hopeful than I was last year because I think we have a lot more facilities’ to handle the pandemic, said Mary, 20.

Vanessa, 22, pointed to the crowds. ‘By this time last year,’ she said, ‘I didn’t think it would be like this.’

People gather at the security entrance in Times Square ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations. Revelers are required to show proof of vaccination and be masked

People gather at the security entrance in Times Square ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Revelers are required to show proof of vaccination and be masked 

A woman shows proof of vaccination against COVID to enter Times Square for the ball drop

A woman shows proof of vaccination against COVID to enter Times Square for the ball drop

An NYPD officer performs a security check on a person at Times Square before tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations

An NYPD officer performs a security check on a person at Times Square before tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations  

NYPD officers perform security checks in Times Square where 15,000 revelers will ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop

NYPD officers perform security checks in Times Square where 15,000 revelers will ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop

People wear their 2022 glasses as they prepare to ring in the new year at the world-famous Times Square ball drop

People wear their 2022 glasses as they prepare to ring in the new year at the world-famous Times Square ball drop

Spectators flash the peace sign while wearing their face masks, 2022 glasses and festive hats as they prepare to ring in the new year

Spectators flash the peace sign while wearing their face masks, 2022 glasses and festive hats as they prepare to ring in the new year 

An NYPD officer stands next to a signage encouraging people to wear masks ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square as COVID-19 infections rise nationwide

An NYPD officer stands next to a signage encouraging people to wear masks ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square as COVID-19 infections rise nationwide 

An empty Times Square was seen on the morning of New Year's Eve

An empty Times Square was seen on the morning of New Year’s Eve

Final preparations and set up for tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square amid a huge Omicron surge that has overtaken New York City

Final preparations and set up for tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square amid a huge Omicron surge that has overtaken New York City

People being gathering at West 47th Street ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, a huge tourist attraction that brings thousands of people to NYC every year

People being gathering at West 47th Street ahead of New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, a huge tourist attraction that brings thousands of people to NYC every year 

NYPD officers stand guard at Times Square ahead of tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations expected to bring out 15.000 revelers

NYPD officers stand guard at Times Square ahead of tonight’s New Year’s Eve celebrations expected to bring out 15.000 revelers 

Paulo Brügger, a banker from Zurich, Switzerland, reflected on a world fed-up with having to endure wave after wave of the virus a year after 2021 dawned with hopes bottled up in vaccine vials.

His optimism was tempered by the world’s new reality that the pandemic would linger into the new year.

‘A lot of people are asking themselves now, ‘Is this going to be like this every year — when we get into the cold season, we have a new variant, and we are back to square one?” said Brügger, 55. 

Still, he was ‘extremely optimistic’ about 2022, partly because of vaccines and new therapies against COVID-19 and partly, he said with a chuckle, ‘because it can’t be worse than the last two years.’ 

Despite reservations about COVID, some attendees were simply thrilled to see the New Year’s Eve ball drop live in Times Square.

‘Since you are a kid, you can see this kind of shows on the TV, so you’re really excited because you’re like, OK, I want to be there some day, and now we’re living the experience,’ Colombia native Maria Fernanda told CBS. 

Other US cities have continued celebrations as well despite the recent surge in cases. 

CHICAGO 

Fireworks exploded along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations, moments after midnight on Saturday, January 1.

Chicago was lit up with a spectacular fire work display along the city's river

Chicago was lit up with a spectacular fire work display along the city’s river

Revelers line Wacker Dr. near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago to watch the New Year fireworks display

Revelers line Wacker Dr. near the Chicago River in downtown Chicago to watch the New Year fireworks display

Spectators watch as fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year's Eve celebrations

Spectators watch as fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations

Fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year's Eve celebrations, moments after midnight Saturday

Fireworks explode along the Chicago River during New Year’s Eve celebrations, moments after midnight Saturday

PHILADELPHIA

For the first time in two years, the city of Philadelphia rang in the new year with its spectacular fireworks shows. 

Held on the Delaware River waterfront, the celebrations saw two firework spectaculars – one at 6pm, and one at midnight.

There will be more fireworks at 6pm on New Year’s Day. 

Fireworks are seen above Philadelphia on New Year's Eve, by the Delaware River

Fireworks are seen above Philadelphia on New Year’s Eve, by the Delaware River

It is the first time that fireworks have been seen for Philadelphia's New Year's Eve in two years

It is the first time that fireworks have been seen for Philadelphia’s New Year’s Eve in two years

MIAMI

In Miami, crowds gathered at Bayfront Park for the traditional firework display, while Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson hosted an ‘All-Star’ New Year’s Eve Special in Miami for NBC, which aired live.

One COVID casualty was The Big Orange, by Mr Neon.

The sculptural 30-foot wide display, 35 foot tall and weighing 2,000 pounds, needs ten transformers to help power the LED lights. 

It did not rise this year after the crew in charge of installing it came down with COVID-19. 

Instead, the orange rose in the form of a laser light show. 

Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson are seen on stage in Miami for NBC's gala celebration

Miley Cyrus and Pete Davidson are seen on stage in Miami for NBC’s gala celebration

The NBC set boasted of their two star hosts

The NBC set boasted of their two star hosts

Miley Cyrus is seen on stage in Miami with 24k Golden

Miley Cyrus is seen on stage in Miami with 24k Golden

The singer, in a red jacket and silver chainmail skirt, dances on stage during the Florida party

The singer, in a red jacket and silver chainmail skirt, dances on stage during the Florida party

NASHVILLE 

Music City ushered in the new year with a typically rocking celebration, held at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park.

The show featured performances by Dierks Bentley, Zac Brown Band, Sam Hunt, the Fisk Jubilee Singers.

Crowds were out in Nashville for their New Year's Eve 'Big Bash'

Crowds were out in Nashville for their New Year’s Eve ‘Big Bash’

Jon Pardi performs during the New Year's Eve Live Nashville's Big Bash

Jon Pardi performs during the New Year’s Eve Live Nashville’s Big Bash

COACHELLA

The town of Coachella, in the Californian desert, hosted a concert to mark New Year’s Eve.

Music lovers flocked to the city, and its famed concert site, for DayOne22: a New Year’s Eve Celebration.

Concert promoters AEG, who put on the annual festival at Coachella, sued event producers Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, arguing that their sale of tickets infringed AEG’s right to put on their own event.

AEG didn’t sue Twenty-Nine Palms directly because the tribe has sovereign immunity from such lawsuits. But in its lawsuit against the ticketing vendor of the NYE event, the plaintiffs alleged that the tribe is ‘intentionally trading on the goodwill’ of the Coachella music festival, causing a likelihood of ‘consumer confusion and false association’ with the spring event. 

But a judge ruled against them, and the event continued.

The show was headlined by Lil Wayne, along with rapper Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal) and E-40.

E40 is seen on stage at the Coachella party for New Year's Eve

E40 is seen on stage at the Coachella party for New Year’s Eve

Music lovers are seen at Coachella for their New Year's Eve concert

Music lovers are seen at Coachella for their New Year’s Eve concert

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk