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Pandemic downsizes New Year's Eve celebrations

New Year's Eve parties scaled back during pandemic
New Year's Eve celebrations scaled back amid record COVID deaths 04:01

Thousands of people normally pack Times Square to ring in the New Year. This year, the area is closed to the public. 

The New York Police Department said that anyone who starts to gather in the area tonight will be asked to leave — except for about 40 frontline workers who have been invited to watch the crystal ball drop. 

The empty New Year's Eve epicenter has been a familiar scene around the world as the coronavirus pandemic rages on. 

In England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered people to stay home. Despite a fireworks display in Sydney, the harbor below was a ghost town as the clock approached midnight. But in Wuhan, China, thousands rang in 2021 wearing masks. 

In Wisconsin, a hospital pharmacist was arrested for intentionally destroying more than 500 doses of the COVID vaccine. Police say the pharmacist left the vials out of refrigeration overnight, knowing they'd no longer be usable. 

"We're really not able to make any judgments on motive at this time," said Dr. Jeff Bahr, the president of Aurora Health Care Medical Group. 

As the U.S. counts down to 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is projecting 80,000 Americans will die in the next three weeks from COVID-19. 

Pamela Addison's 44-year-old husband, Martin, a hospital speech pathologist and father to their 2-year-old daughter and baby boy, was among the more than 344,000 Americans who have died from the coronavirus. Addison is now part of a group of about 80 women and men who also lost their spouses and partners to the coronavirus. 

A nurse held her husband's hand in the hospital, during what would be his final FaceTime call with Addison. 

"It happened to be the anniversary of when he asked me to marry him. I just reminisced about that day and how I would say yes all over again and how I loved him," she said. Two days later, her husband died. 

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