Health officials urge to avoid New Year's Eve gatherings amid improving case numbers

On the heels of New Year's Eve, Philadelphia health officials are urging people to keep their year-end celebrations to a minimum as the city continues to combat the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

Joining Good Day Philadelphia on Wednesday, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley strongly advised people to only get together with members of their household for New Year's celebrations. 

"We're worried about people getting together and spreading infection," Dr. Farley told Mike Jerrick and Karen Hepp. "It's not only at home, but home with your own household members, don't get together for a private New Year's party either."

Credit: NJ Gov. via Flickr

What was once the hardest-hit county in the region, Philadelphia has seen case rates plummet over the last three weeks, according to Farley. He credits the revamped restrictions on businesses and gatherings for helping tame the spread of infection.

If Philadelphia continues its current trend, Farley envisions some of the highly controversial restrictions can begin to be lifted in January. Lower risk settings, such as gyms and museums, are targeted to reopen on Jan. 4. Restaurants and other settings the city has deemed "high risk" could have restrictions eased on Jan. 15.

Of course, the only way the nation can fully find its way out from under the pandemic is through inoculation. In Philadelphia, Farley said the vaccine rollout has gone "fairly smoothly" and the city hopes to move on to "frontline essential workers" by the end of January. 

More than 2 million Americans have received a coronavirus vaccine as of Monday night, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Pennsylvania data from Bloomberg suggests that nearly 83,000 people have received their first dose of the two-shot vaccine. 


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