NEW YORK - The nostalgic sound of thundering applause echoing through the walls of a Broadway theater has finally returned.
1,200 people packed the August Wilson Theater Wednesday night for the premiere of a new play 'Pass Over." It was the first Broadway play since March 2020.
The crowd was masked, but not socially distanced and proof of full vaccination was required at the door. It's a standard that's not high enough just a few blocks west at the Javits Center. Where the International Auto Show has been canceled for a second straight year due to COVID.
Organizers say the decision was made based on New York City's rising case count. The virus is surging nationwide primarily due to the Delta variant, which now accounts for 93% of new COVID cases in the U.S.
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Plus, there is a new threat that health care experts are calling Delta Plus. It's a mutation of the predominant Delta variant that's been detected in patients in the U.S., U.K., India, and South Korea. The sub-strain is raising concerns for its spike protein mutation - or external bumps in the virus - which helps it latch onto a human cell better.
Officials say it's too early to tell how contagious Delta Plus is.
But Dr. Bruce Polsky, an infectious disease specialist, and Chairman for the Department of Medicine for NYU Langone Long Island, says one thing is for sure, "variants only arise when the virus is actively replicated." The best way to combat the virus, he says, is to give it fewer places to go. In other words, "we need to vaccinate," says Dr. Polsky.
The large pool of unvaccinated people is allowing the virus to replicate, mutate and lead to variations. And since viruses can't reproduce outside of the human body, blocking transmission by way of vaccination stops the virus in its tracks.
Frustration for those who are still refusing to take that into account is seemingly mounting among officials. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy sounded off on a group of heckling anti-vaxxers yesterday. "These folks back there have lost their mind," Murphy fumed, "you’ve lost your minds, you are the ultimate knuckleheads and because of what you are saying and standing for people are losing their life, people are losing their life and you have to know that, look in the mirror."