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Is the party worth the risk? Soaring COVID cases lead to tough questions for New Year's Eve

“I feel like at this point in time, it’s best to avoid crowds, even outdoor crowds," UT Health doctor says.

SAN ANTONIO — There’s a new warning from city leaders: San Antonio should brace for the impact the omicron variant of the coronavirus is bringing with it.

“It is spreading fast, and I think it’ll get a lot worse before it gets better,” Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

“This latest variant is clearly very infectious, and reducing the likelihood of transmission should remain everyone’s priority,” University Health Hospital Systems Chief Medical Director Bryan Alsip said.

Despite their many warnings, the city says the Celebrate SA official New Year’s Eve celebration, which is expected to host tens of thousands of people in the downtown San Antonio area, will still happen.

“With regard to any event happening tonight, what we want to do is make sure we’re emphasizing the precautions necessary to be safe,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.

Marjorie David , director of the Molecular Diagnostic Lab at UT Health San Antonio, says the December data they’ve been getting is scary.

“We’re seeing an unprecedented number or proportion of positives in our clinics amongst folks who have been exposed to COVID and people getting tested for screening purposes,” she said. “I personally wouldn’t make the choice to participate in an activity like that right now in the midst of the omicron surge, even as a fully boosted Pfizer-vaccinated individual.”

David said the coronavirus positivity rate jumped to 31.5% Wednesday, which is the highest it’s been since the pandemic started. Her advice to people this New Year’s Eve: stay home or the virus could hit close to home.

“I feel like at this point in time it’s best to avoid crowds... even outdoor crowds,” David said.

“Never before during this two-year pandemic have I had so many family members and friends come down with COVID,” Wolff said.