Vegas NYE celebrations spark COVID-19 panic

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Vegas NYE celebrations spark COVID-19 panic

A Nevada health official believes New Years Eve partygoers who spent time in Las Vegas should assume they are infected with coronavirus, adding they could be spreading it without even realising.

Calvin Ayre reports that Nevada’s COVID-19 expert, Caleb Cage, pointed out that Vegas visitors on New Year’s may have been exposed to the virus and that they might now be helping spread it, even if they aren’t showing any symptoms.

He added that the choice to ignore health warnings recommending everyone avoid congregating to ring in the new year may prove costly.

“It was a risk to go out on New Year’s Eve. The governor made it clear,” Cage said.

Nevada had placed a restriction on gatherings a few months ago, limiting the number of people to 50.

The position was reiterated ahead of the typically bustling atmosphere of Vegas to celebrate the new year and a number of photos circulating on social media and news sites show large clusters of people, some who aren’t wearing masks.

Ahead of the expected crowds, governor Steve Sisolak tried to motivate would be revellers to stay away from inundating popular hotspots.

“To organise or promote gatherings with the tickets or fee as if its’ business as usual, that’s just plain irresponsible,” he said.

“The science prevails and the science says the more people in a gathering, it is guaranteed that a portion are going to have COVID, either symptomatic or asymptomatic.”

Megan Brownhill, who mans a temporary tattoo booth on the Fremont Street Experience in Vegas, knows first hand how out of control the situation was.

Despite the FSE supposedly only being open to local hotel guests on New Year’s Eve, she saw how the streets were flooded with people and was even fined because some of her customers didn’t wear masks.

Since one of her coworkers tested positive for COVID-19 recently, she’s concerned that a new spike could be coming.

Las Vegas sits in Clark COunty, which holds two-thirds of Nevada’s population.

It is also where 2424 coronavirus deaths out of the state total of 3210 have come from.

For now, areas residents should be extra cautious with the personal interactions and health officials are going to monitor the situation more closely to see if additional outbreaks occur.

Macau and Vegas struggle as pandemic’s impact lingers

The coronavirus pandemic has decimated gambling revenue in Macau.

Yahoo Finance reported that in November, Macau gaming revenue is down 80.5 per cent in 2020 to $6.58 billion, according to the latest figures from Macau’s gaming bureau.

In November, Macau gaming revenue fell 70.5 per cent to $845.34 million, which was worse than the 65 per cent decline analysts expected, but better than the past six months, with each saw 90 per cent declines.

In June, Macau gaming revenue dropped 97 per cent year-on-year to $89.7 million, its lowest monthly gaming revenue ever.

The numbers have picked up since then, suggesting casinos there have seen the worst of the damage and are on their way back, though a recovery is likely to be very slow.

Located on the southern coast of China and a one-hour ferry ride from Hong Kong, Macau is the world’s largest legal casino destination by revenue, bigger than Las Vegas.

The city is home to 41casinos as of 2019, and only three US casino companies have properties there – Las Vegas Sands, MGM and Wynn.

In February, Macau’s government forced casinos to close for two weeks and they reopened with masks and social distancing on February 20.

Nevada closed casinos for far longer, 78 days, starting in mid-March and reopening on June 4.

Back to top