MILWAUKEE — New Year’s Eve is here and with the hopes of a typical celebration like years past dashed, the rise in COVID cases and the new Omicron variant has many people in the Milwaukee area choosing not going out and instead stay home.
The latest numbers from Wednesday from the state show Wisconsin is averaging about 4,200 new cases a day, a 24 percent jump from just four days earlier – marking the highest it has been all year.
“I’m not doing as much as I thought I might tonight, probably stay in, maybe go out for a drink with some friends, but mostly just going to stay in. Whereas if the situation wasn’t as it is with the new variant, I would probably spend the night out,” said shopper Crystal Kennedy.
Just minutes after opening for the day, the parking lot of the Total Wine in Bayshore was packed, full of people looking to get some last-minute favors for a cozy night in to ring in 2022.
“Omicron has been around kind of taking everything by storm the last couple of weeks. So, I just decided to do what I did last year, which is not make any plans. So, I'm going to be like in the middle of the woods and on our property,” said Stephen Olsen.
UW Health Chief Quality Officer Dr. Jeff Pothof says if you are thinking of going out, be responsible for yourself and for the safety of others.
“You know, we’ll likely see Omicron at these New Year's Eve parties, but we can significantly reduce the risk of transmission and all sorts of severe disease if those folks gathering for New Year's Eve are vaccinated and boosted,” said Dr. Pothof.
“I think that this is just a new reality, and just accepting that this is our new reality, being safe, taking more precautions, but also getting back to normalcy, and just allowing ourselves the understanding that this is just going to be our new reality for the time being,” said Kennedy.