Tulane University Epidemiologist gives advice to people in New Year’s Eve crowds


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO)— Despite the rapid rise in Omicron cases, many folks are still planning on celebrating New Year’s Eve in New Orleans.

WGNO’s Kenny Lopez talked to an epidemiologist at Tulane University on how best you can stay safe if you’re out with large crowds.

“The virus is all over the metropolitan area so you have to assume if you’re in a large crowd whether indoors or outdoors that someone is infected,” Susan Hassig, Associate Professor in Epidemiology at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine said.

Hassig said with Omicron seriously all around us this New Year’s Eve everyone needs to be more cautious.

“So I think you need to act appropriately and that for me means masking and masking with a reasonable mask. With a cloth mask, that’s at least three layers, a surgical mask, and a KN-95 is most preferred. The KNB-95 fits more closely to the face and provides a more complete barrier,” she said.

While New York City is limiting crowds to 15-thousand in Times Square for the ball drop. Here in New Orleans for the Fleur De Lis drop there are no crowd restrictions, but Mayor LaToya Cantrell has this message.

“We know what works and that is masking up and se we’re encouraging that all the time to put the mask on,” Mayor Cantrell said.

But Hassig recommends even more precautions.

“Stay with your group, keep distance when you can, as you are moving through the streets,” she said.

And she says collectively we can all do our part with masks and vaccines.

“If people don’t mask up we will see an even more extreme spike, even that’s hard to imagine. We want to have a healthy 2022, not sick and yucky,” Hassig said.

Now she also recommends that if you do go out for New Year’s, everyone should pay very close attention to their health and watch for any sort of respiratory symptoms two to three days after going out.

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