- LL Cool J has canceled his New Year’s Eve performance after testing positive for COVID-19.
- New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration would be shortened.
The 53-year-old entertainer performed on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, which aired on ABC on Friday.
“I know it’s disappointing to the millions of fans, but my COVID test came back positive, which means I won’t be able to perform at NYRE as planned,” the musician, real name James Todd Smith, said in a statement to PEOPLE.
“We were prepared, and I was looking forward to ringing in the New Year in a unique way in my hometown in 2022, but for now, I wish everyone a healthy and happy New Year. The most exciting part is yet to come!” Added he.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NCIS: Los Angeles star was scheduled to perform a pre-midnight set in Times Square on Friday night as part of a scaled-back event.
Due to a boost in COVID cases in the city, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week that the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration would be shortened. Only about 15,000 people will be allowed, or about a quarter of the usual attendance.
Chlöe, an R&B singer, has also canceled her appearance at ABC’s Times Square event in New York City, still featuring Journey and Karol G on stage.
Avril Lavigne and Travis Barker, Big Boi and Sleepy Brown, French Montana, Macklemore, OneRepublic, and others will perform live from Los Angeles. Billy Porter will perform from New Orleans, while Daddy Yankee will perform from Puerto Rico.
Fox canceled its New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast, which was hosted live in Times Square by Joel McHale and Ken Jeong.
The cancellations come as many experts advise against large-scale New Year’s Eve gatherings due to increased COVID-19 cases with the omicron variant.
The United States reached a sombre milestone this week, nearly two years into the coronavirus pandemic, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a single-day high of over 441,000 new cases on December 27.
The reported totals surpassed the previous high of over 298,000 new COVD-19 cases in a single day on January 8.
According to CDC data, the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases in the United States is just over 240,000. The staggering number of cases brings the total number of cases reported in the United States since January 2020 to nearly 53 million, with 816,239 deaths.
The alarming increase in cases over the holidays has impacted millions of Americans, not just because they or loved ones tested positive for the virus.
Hundreds of flights were canceled by United Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines ahead of Christmas Eve, citing the spread of the omicron variant as the cause, with similar situations affecting NYC’s MTA public transportation system.