White House limits holiday festivities amid Covid outbreak

Top line

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden plan to scrap traditional White House parties this year in favor of “open houses” for guests, as cases of Covid-19 rise across the country and the omicron variant of the coronavirus continues to spread.

Highlights

The White House will be holding a limited number of “open houses” in the coming days for guests to view the White House’s Christmas-themed decorations, “Gifts from the Heart,” said the spokesperson for the first. lady, Michael La Rosa. Forbes.

Customers will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test in order to attend the 30-minute self-guided tour, CNN reported.

La Rosa said the decision to limit the number of guests this year was “disappointing”, but said the White House “will continue to implement strong COVID protocols” on the advice of its public health advisers.

Large number

79,000. This is how many lights were used to decorate the trees, garlands and wreaths around the White House. This year’s decorations included 41 Christmas trees with over 6,000 feet of ribbon and 10,000 ornaments.

Tangent

Former President Donald Trump was criticized last year for throwing holiday parties, despite the increase in Covid-19 cases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning Americans of avoid large gatherings. Trump defended the parties, saying they were “cutting back [of guests]

20 end of year celebrations
New York Times
50 guests

Key context

Coronavirus cases are on the rise in several states in the United States, prompting states like New York and California to reinstate indoor mask warrants. States like Massechusettes, New Hampshire and New Mexico also recently recorded their highest number of Covid-19 cases since the previous wave of winter. Almost all states have high community transmission of Covid-19, according to the CDC’s coronavirus tracker. The vast majority of the country’s new coronavirus cases last week were linked to the delta variant of the virus, but 2.9% of cases were caused by the new omicron variant, up from just 0.4% the week before, according to the CDC .


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