As revelers gather for NYC’s New Years Eve celebrations, a large crowd forms.

Nearly 15,000 people are expected to attend the Times Square Celebration despite the new spike in state court cases, which reached a record 76.555 cases.

However, there were thousands of revelers gathered in the square, many wearing traditional celebration attire, including beaded necklaces, funky hats and 2022 glasses.

In preparation of the mega-holiday, lines formed on the streets. 

Officials warned Friday not to celebrate the expanding caseload because it could lead to uncontrolled celebrations. 

The city said it would limit the number of people it lets into Times Square to witness a 6-ton ball, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals, descend above a crowd of the in-person spectators — far fewer than the many tens of thousands of revelers who usually descend on the world-famous square to bask in the lights, hoopla and shower of confetti during the nation’s marquee New Year’s Eve event.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio was the one to announce the cut-back celebration.  

Officials stated that attendees would need to be wearing masks and showing proof of vaccination in order not to contract widespread diseases.

LL Cool J, a rapper and actor was scheduled to perform on Friday evening at Times Square. However, he announced that he will not be performing because he has tested positive for COVID.     

The average COVID-19 case in America has risen to 265,000 per day, which is the highest level ever recorded. New York City reported a record number of new, confirmed cases — nearly 44,000 — on Wednesday and a similar number Thursday, according to New York state figures.

Thousands of spectators pack in for the New Years Eve celebration in Times Square despite the surge in COVID cases and the presence of the new Omicron variant

The New Years Eve Celebration in Times Square draws thousands of spectators despite the rise in COVID cases as well the introduction of Omicron, a new variant of Omicron. 

Event spectators prepare for the world-famous ball drop event which had been closed to public last year because of the pandemic

The world-famous ball dropping event is being watched by spectators. It was closed last year due to the pandemic.

Spectators wear traditional New Year's Eve garb including 2022 themed glasses, hats and scarves

The traditional New Year’s Eve costume for spectators includes 2022 themed glasses and scarves.

The crowd will however remain reduced due to the effects of the Omicron surge hitting NYC and the rest of the US

However, the Omicron surge that impacted NYC and other parts of the US will continue to reduce the crowd.

After last year’s pandemic, the New Year’s Eve celebration was closed to the public.   

‘We are very excited to welcome back visitors to Times Square this New Year’s Eve,’ said Tom Harris, the president of the Times Square Alliance. 

“Our aim is to create a responsible and safe event that the whole world can see.” 

But 2022 begins just as the year prior began — with the pandemic clouding an already uncertain future.

Doubts swirled about whether the city would have to cancel this year’s bash, as the city posted record numbers of COVID cases in the days leading to it, even as some cities like Atlanta had decided to cancel their own celebrations.   

The Omicron variant of Omicron was identified by South African health officials as the first to be discovered in America last month, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

American is currently experiencing an average of 300,387 Covid cases per hour, which is a record for a pandemic and the first time that the 300,000. mark in America has been achieved.  

New York state recorded 76,500 COVID cases on Friday, up from yesterday’s record of 67,000, governor Kathy Hochul announced. 

The governor stated that there were currently 3,925 New Yorkers hospitalized and 80 died from Covid yesterday.

The celebrations have not been halted by the increase in cases. 

De Blasio said on Thursday that he doesn’t believe there should be any shutdowns. “We must fight our way out of this.” De Blasio’s words are strikingly in contrast to what he did during the pandemic that saw New York City close down for many months in 2020.   

New York City’s incoming mayor, Eric Adams, is scheduled to take his oath in Times Square soon after the ball drop and he expressed hope Thursday that 2022 would be ‘a new beginning of our resiliency.’ 

The Mayor-Elect Adams doubled down on New Year’s Celebrations, declaring that his swearing in ceremony will be held during festivities. This is after he cancelled his Saturday in-person inauguration.

As college students, Mary and Vanessa Anyakwo, their sisters, were cautiously optimistic as they took in Times Square from their suburban Elmsford home.

Mary, 20, said that she feels a lot better than last year, “I believe we have more facilities” to deal with the pandemic.

Vanessa, 22 years old pointed at the crowds. ‘By this time last year,’ she said, ‘I didn’t think it would be like this.’

Paulo Brügger, a banker from Zurich, Switzerland, reflected on a world fed-up with having to endure wave after wave of the virus a year after 2021 dawned with hopes bottled up in vaccine vials.

His optimism was tempered by the world’s new reality that the pandemic would linger into the new year.

‘A lot of people are asking themselves now, ‘Is this going to be like this every year — when we get into the cold season, we have a new variant, and we are back to square one?’’ said Brügger, 55.

Still, he was ‘extremely optimistic’ about 2022, partly because of vaccines and new therapies against COVID-19 and partly, he said with a chuckle, ‘because it can’t be worse than the last two years.’ 

The New Year's Eve Ball is illuminated and elevated near a '2022 is here' sign for a final test ahead of New Year's Eve on Friday

For a last test before New Year’s Eve, the New Year’s Eve Ball will be illuminated near an ‘2022 Is Here’ sign.

Teddy, a 12-year-old miniature poodle wearing 2022 glasses, sits on West 47th Street ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday afternoon

Teddy is a miniature 12-year old mini poodle dressed in 2022 glasses and sitting on West 47th Street before the New Year’s Eve celebrations at Times Square.

Revelers take photos with Times Square staple The Naked Cowboy as they prepare for tonight's ball drop to ring in 2022

The Naked Cowboy is a Times Square fixture that Revelers photograph as they make preparations for tonight’s ball to ring in 2022

The crowd starts getting pumped up, including a man who pulls down his mask to cheer ahead of tonight's New Year Eve celebrations in Times Square

As the crowd gets excited, a man pulls down his mask in order to celebrate New Year Eve at Times Square.

Revelers wait in social distancing pens in Times Square ahead of celebrating New Year's Eve on Friday as crowds begin to form

As the crowds start to form, revelers sit in Times Square’s social distancing pens as they wait for New Year’s Eve.

A couple wearing face masks and funky hats look on ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square on Friday

Two couples in funky hats and face masks observe the New Year celebrations at Times Square ahead of Friday’s festivities

People gather at the security entrance in Times Square ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations. Revelers are required to show proof of vaccination and be masked

In Times Square, New Year’s Eve Celebrations are underway. People queue up at the security gate. All revelers must show proof that they have been immunized and cover their faces. 

An NYPD officer performs a security check on a person at Times Square before tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations

A NYPD officer checks on a New Year’s Eve celebrant in Times Square.  

NYPD officers perform security checks in Times Square where 15,000 revelers will ring in the New Year by watching the ball drop

NYPD officers conduct security checks at Times Square. 15,000 revelers will be watching the ball drop in Times Square.

People wear their 2022 glasses as they prepare to ring in the new year at the world-famous Times Square ball drop

When they are preparing to ring in 2019 at the famous Times Square ball drop, many people wear 2022 glasses.

Spectators flash the peace sign while wearing their face masks, 2022 glasses and festive hats as they prepare to ring in the new year

As they prepare for the New Year, spectators flash the peace sign and don festive hats and face masks. 

An NYPD officer stands next to a signage encouraging people to wear masks ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations at Times Square as COVID-19 infections rise nationwide

NYPD Officer stands beside a placard encouraging people not to wear masks to New Year’s Eve Celebrations at Times Square. 

An empty Times Square that will soon be packed with 15,000 spectators who will watch the ball drop to celebrate the new year

One empty Times Square, which will soon be crowded by 15,000 spectators to watch the ball drop in celebration of the new year.

Final preparations and set up for tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square amid a huge Omicron surge that has overtaken New York City

Tonight’s New Year’s Eve Celebrations will be held in Times Square as a result of an Omicron surge.

People being gathering at West 47th Street ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, a huge tourist attraction that brings thousands of people to NYC every year

West 47th Street was packed with people ahead of New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square. This huge tourist attraction attracts thousands to NYC each year. 

NYPD officers stand guard at Times Square ahead of tonight's New Year's Eve celebrations expected to bring out 15.000 revelers

NYPD officers guard Times Square in anticipation of the New Year’s Eve festivities expected to draw 15.000 revelers