(NewsNation Now) — New Year’s Eve, which used to be celebrated globally with a free-spirited jubilance, felt for many like a case of deja vu, with the fast-spreading omicron variant again filing hospitals.
In the United States, cities took a mixed approach to the year-end revelry: nixing the audience at a countdown concert in Los Angeles, scaling crowds back in New York and yet going full speed ahead in Las Vegas, where 300,000 people were expected for a fireworks show on the strip.
While Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden, has urged caution and to avoid large gatherings, many are celebrating optimism for the new year.
Still, several of the world’s biggest cities held dazzling light shows and people found ways to celebrate. Here’s what it looked like in and around the world.
New York City
The annual New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City’s Times Square took place in front of a scaled-back crowd.
Thousands of fireworks lit up Sydney Harbour during New Year’s Eve celebrations on Jan. 1, 2022. However, crowds were smaller than in pre-pandemic years.
The above footage, recorded by Storyful journalist Kate Tan, shows people counting down and cheering in 2022 as the fireworks go off.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai entered 2022 with a fireworks display at the Burj Khalifa and in other central areas.
The United Kingdom is dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases but still set off a big display.
This video, recorded near the London Stadium, shows fireworks at midnight. A larger celebration with pyrotechnics was organized in the center of the city.
Large crowds showed up near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris on New Year’s Eve despite the cancellation of an official fireworks display amid surging COVID-19 cases.
This video, taken across the Seine River, shows the Eiffel Tower sparkling as locals shouted and honked their horns in celebration of the start of 2022.
Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland’s Harbour Bridge, Sky Tower and War Memorial Museum were lit up to celebrate the arrival of the new year. The usual fireworks display was canceled due to the pandemic.
This video, posted on Twitter by Eden Jahnke shortly after midnight, shows colors dancing across the city’s Sky Tower, which usually hosts the fireworks event.
The Associated Press and Storyful contributed to this report.