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Fauci issues a warning about New Year’s gatherings; tourists in New Orleans react

White House NYE recommendations
White House NYE recommendations
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 8:03 PM CST
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Crowds of people were in the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans a few days before New...
Crowds of people were in the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans a few days before New Year's Eve.(Source: WVUE)

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With just days before the New Year’s holiday lots of tourists are in New Orleans but Dr. Anthony Fauci, who is President Biden’s chief medical advisor and Director of the National Institute of Allergy, and Infectious Diseases is warning people not to gather with those who are not fully vaccinated and those who have had booster shots.

“If your plans are to go to a 40-or-50-person New Year’s Eve Party with all the bells and whistles and everybody hugging and kissing and wishing each other a Happy New Year I would strongly recommend that this year we do not do that,” Fauci said a press briefing on Wednesday.

As he was speaking thousands of people were in the French Quarter in New Orleans and some people lined up very close to each other to get into the famed Café Du monde on Decatur Street next to the Mississippi River while others were in close contact as they strolled the Quarter and Canal Street.

Alice Perry is visiting the city of New York.

“I really like it, I love seeing all the different people,” she said.

Jason Preston is visiting from New Orleans from Florida.

“On the way back to Orlando, so we made a pit stop for a couple of days,” he said.

Perry said the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis is concerning but she still decided to travel to New Orleans. “I am scared about COVID but personally for this experience to come down here I think I put that, those worries aside,” said Perry.

But Fauci’s recommendation is different for vaccinated people who want to gather with a small group of others who are vaccinated.

“If you are in a situation with a family setting in your home with family, parents, children, grandparents, and everyone is vaccinated and boosted although the risk is never zero in anything the risk is low enough that we feel you should continue to go through with those plans of having a home-related, vaccinated, boosted gathering with family and close friends who are also vaccinated and boosted,” said Fauci.

John Lawson a spokesman for city hall said in an email that as we head into New Year’s Eve and the Allstate Sugar Bowl which attracts thousands of football fans masks are strongly encouraged and any outdoor gathering is subject to vaccine and COVID test requirements.

Further, he said for outdoor events of more than 500 people it is strongly recommended that individuals wear masks for the duration of the event unless they are actively eating or drinking. Also, the city says for large outdoor events where attendance is greater than 50% of the venue’s total capacity, attendees must provide proof of vaccination status or provide a negative test from a COVID test conducted within 72 hours of the event.

Members of two families from Dallas are also visiting New Orleans amid the virus concerns.

Ava McCall said she noticed the COVID requirements.

“When it comes to things like how strict it is over here and how you have to be vaccinated and everything, I think that they’re taking the right protocols to make it effective,” said McCall.

Jonah Macaluso is also visiting with his family from Dallas. He fears the virus will continue to hurt sporting events.

“A little bit with it growing just for basketball season a little bit,” he said.

Preston said where he goes, so does his face mask.

“All day, that’s why I have my mask on all the time,” said Preston.

Fauci and others doctors are urging people who are not vaccinated to get vaccinated and they say if people are eligible for the booster shot they should get it as soon as possible because of the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant.

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