Despite the soaring COVID cases in New York City, outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio is not yet keen on canceling the return of the city’s in-person New Year’s Eve celebration.

In a virtual press briefing on Sunday afternoon, de Blasio said he will give his decision to whether cancel or change precautions on the Times Square NYE celebration before Christmas.

“We expect Omicron to be a fast and temporary phenomenon. We expect these next weeks to see a very, very big surge in the number of cases, more than we’ve seen previously, and then we expect after a period of time, that it will dissipate,” de Blasio said.

“We’re expecting a fast uptick, and then going the other way, the cases starting to go down,” de Blasio added.

Despite fears from many, de Blasio just characterized the surge in cases as a “temporary reality,” predicting “we think the outcome will be very much better this time” compared to spring 2020 regarding healthcare system would be able to handle the wave due to less severe infections because of vaccines.

In view of some sectors calling for the cancellation of the NYE celebration, de Blasio responded that the protocol for the iconic ball drop will be revealed by the end of the week.

“We’re going to make a decision before Christmas. We’re certainly looking at the new challenges we’re facing, but this is an all-vaccinated event and it is outdoors, and those are two very, very important, favorable factors,” he said.

“We’re also considering there’s other ways we can approach it even with current rules that could help to make it even stronger, so there’s a discussion going on. We will have a final decision on what we can do ahead of Christmas, for sure,” he added.

Sources said as of Friday, the COVID-19 positivity rate in New York City, measured on a seven-day average, was 7.13, up from less than 3 percent at the beginning of December.

The latest data also showed that one-hundred-sixty-two patients are in hospitals in the five boroughs and the hospitalization rate is 1.69 per 100,000 New Yorkers — up from 1.30 per 100,000 people on Monday.

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