Atlanta area officials panic and cancel events, citing omicron COVID variant

An April 10, 2020, view of a fountain in Smyrna, Georgia, that authorities cordoned off because of COVID. (Photo by Todd DeFeo/The DeFeo Groupe)

ATLANTA — Atlanta has canceled its New Year’s Eve Peach Drop as officials panic over the number of COVID-19 cases and specifically the omicron variant of the virus.

“In consultation with public health officials, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the Peach Drop,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a news release. “As positive COVID-19 cases rise, I encourage everyone to be safe, get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines.”

According to the CDC, Fulton and DeKalb counties remain areas of high transmission for the COVID-19 virus. In Fulton County, the seven-day average of COVID-19 cases stands at 1,430, increasing the previous seven-day average of 407.

Officials say that is the highest rate of change since the pandemic’s start.

Earlier this month, Bottoms issued an executive order requiring everyone to wear masks covering their nose and mouth when indoors and in public. It ostensibly applies to private businesses and establishments.

Elsewhere in the Metro Atlanta area, Cobb County officials have declared a state of emergency. The declaration urges residents to get vaccinated or boosted, wear masks indoors with others and avoid crowds.

“Public Health officials warn me this variant is spreading at an alarming rate,” Cobb County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Lisa Cupid said in a news release. “The stress on our hospitals is increasing, and both public and private COVID testing facilities are overwhelmed. Even though this is just prior to Christmas, I wanted to act quickly to help slow the spread of this new variant in our community.”

Other jurisdictions have joined the panic. Smyrna library officials, for example, have canceled some programming for early January.

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Sightseers’ Delight started publishing in June 2016. The site, published by The DeFeo Groupe, collects and curates content about places where historical events large and small happened. The site builds off the legacy of The Travel Trolley, which launched in June 2009. The site aimed to be a virtual version of the trolley tours offered in so many cities.