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'It would be terrible to sacrifice five hours of 2020 and then run into problems for 2021': Doctors warn against NYE celebrations

As cases continue to rise, doctors warn that attending parties and skipping the mask could be deadly.

TAMPA, Fla. — Christmas is behind us, but the impacts of holiday travel and gathering are still to come.

Even though Tampa International Airport saw a fraction of the travelers this year compared to last, doctors warn that the indoor gathering and celebrating that likely came with travel is dangerous.

“I wish that people could see what I have seen in terms of human suffering," said Dr. John Sinnott, an infectious disease expert with USF Health and Tampa General Hospital.

Dr. Sinnott says that if things continue on the same path, Hillsborough is projected to reach thousands of cases per day.

"Maybe 5,000 to 8,000 new cases a day beginning in mid-January. And if you think how hard it's going to be to get medical care to get personal protective equipment," Dr. Sinnott said

He says a lot will depend on how people spend New Year’s Eve: “It would be terrible to sacrifice five hours of 2020 and then run into problems for 2021." 

For Dr. Sinnott and his colleagues, they see too great of a risk.

"Unfortunately, people don't understand the idea of the pandemic, how it quietly tears through a population. If you think of 300,000 dead Americans, many good find people that contribute so much to society. And they're not here," Dr. Sinnott explained.

For those hoping for a better 2021, Dr. Sinnott has some ideas. 

“Stay at home. Celebrate with your loved ones. That way you guarantee your loved ones will be there for next New Year's Eve," he said.

The city of St. Pete is trying to keep things COVID friendly by making their New Year's Eve "First Night" celebration completely virtual. Normally, the event is held downtown on Central Avenue, but this year, people will be given the choice to tune in and enjoy it from their homes.


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