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While New York City streets were devoid of the oceans of revelers normally ushering in a new year, the scene playing out in the city of Wuhan, China was a startling contrast.
In the city once seen as the epicenter for the COVID-19 outbreak, thousands of residents packed the streets to ring in 2021. Meanwhile, for the first time in over a century, New York’s Times Square was not open to all who wanted to personally see the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball make its descent at midnight.
The stark difference between the two scenes made for outraged comments on social media where many saw the Chinese celebration as proof that Americans are “being played” on the coronavirus pandemic.
The sparkling Waterford Crystal ball in New York City still made its traditional “drop” beginning at 11:59 p.m., but gone were the shoulder-to-shoulder crowds of New Yorkers who spent hours waiting in freezing temperatures to mark the end of the year.
— Reuters (@Reuters) December 31, 2020
The New York City streets were described as “eerily quiet” by CBS News and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea described the scene as “surreal.” A few VIP guests and only about 40 local frontline workers along with their families were allowed to participate in the festivities in person, socially distanced and wearing masks, of course.
TIMES SQUARE NEW YEAR’S EVE – NBC pic.twitter.com/E3AvmzQP1z
— FXHedge (@Fxhedgers) January 1, 2021
“Don’t believe any ‘Doubting Thomases’ that say because there’s not going to be a million people or more in Times Square, it’s not going to be special. It’s going to be actually, arguably, the most special,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said on New Year’s Eve. “We are going to be honoring our health care heroes, first responders and folks who did amazing work this year.”
— Ryan Seacrest (@RyanSeacrest) January 1, 2021
— jaded new yorker (@nozztilbrooklyn) January 1, 2021
New York was once seen as the coronavirus epicenter in the U.S., and it ushered in 2021 with subdued celebrations. But over in China, where the first COVID-19 mutation case was recently reported, images emerged of a very different vibe.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 31, 2020
In Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported, residents gathered to release balloons at midnight.
Good to see that Wuhan enjoyed their New Years Eve 👍 pic.twitter.com/Ii7MxhNGhu
— Brian Ewen (@BrianEwen) December 31, 2020
The striking difference between the Wuhan celebration and those in other cities still under protective lockdowns was not lost on social media users.
New Years Eve, Wuhan vs London. Thank you China 😡 pic.twitter.com/1pL62SHtrk
— Lee (@VictoryDay_Hope) January 1, 2021
New Years Eve
Times Square vs Wuhan pic.twitter.com/9t4YXnK0Da
— 🐴One Horse Pony🐴Big Shot Gangster🦅 (@shot_gangster) January 1, 2021
Journalist Luke Rudkowski juxtaposed the images of Wuhan and New York City in one tweet, asking: “What kind of message does this send to the world.”
Twitter users had thoughts:
That their propaganda machine is out in full force, that they accomplished what they set out to do, that communism offers more freedom than capitalism, and that they have high hopes for their plans for 2021.
— fiktshun (@fiktshun) January 1, 2021
It means World War 3 only lasted 10 months so far, and the west has been nearly destroyed without one single bullet fired.
— AirRazorX (@AirRazorX1) January 1, 2021
It sends the message that America is broken and China is the new superpower.
— Marco Red Devil 🔰🇾🇪 (@MarcoRedDevil) January 1, 2021
We are getting played
— Corey Gardner (@rewiredtoday) January 1, 2021
That this will be their decade unless we step up our efforts and stop fighting each other.
— Enter-Your_Name ➐ (@tr00p3RR) January 1, 2021
— Franky (@crestviewgator) January 1, 2021
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