When Pam Mandel received the news that her cousin could not make it to Seattle for New Year’s Eve, she felt like a sucker.
“I had to tell you, I laughed because it was so strangely obvious in light of how terrible everything has been,” Mandel added.
Millions of Americans are having a rough time this New Year’s holiday, thanks to the omicron variant. Infections have increased across the country, forcing celebrations to be canceled.
Omicron is spreading rapidly
Omicron is on the rise. The seven-day average surpassed 300,000 for the first time, up by 80% from the previous week. Although the proportion of situations that need hospitalization or result in death is small, because the disease is so infectious, many people will be affected.
“This virus has demonstrated its capacity to adapt and change,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a White House briefing on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the latest pandemic has made a lot of Americans very unhappy. Air travel is a nightmare. College football bowl games have been canceled. New York’s Times Square will continue to host the ball drop celebration, albeit with a considerably smaller crowd and stringent mask rules.
For many people, New Year’s Eve will be a disappointment.
The Miami Hurricanes had to withdraw from a football game and a production of the Nutcracker was called off in Florida, despite the fact that the state has tried to go full steam ahead throughout most of the pandemic.
“We’ll most likely be at home,” Lala Tanmoy Das, who lives in New York City with his wife, Eric, said.
In the country, the nation’s capital has by far the highest COVID danger level.
Das and his husband, both health-care professionals, planned some much-needed vacation time for a trip to Philadelphia to attend a New Year’s Eve party and marry the following day.
They were subsequently diagnosed with the coronavirus.
“It’s awful,” she added. “We wanted to be with our friends, and everything is cancelled. Because so many people on their guest list have tested positive, the couple was forced to postpone their wedding.”
Feelings of disappointment, anger, and isolation are all typical.
Many individuals said that they attempted to enjoy Christmas and Hanukkah with good cheer and a stiff upper lip. Many, however, complained about the disappointments of New Year’s Eve, making them feel angry and alone.
“We’re frightened to have feelings about what’s going on right now, and it appears to be very unhealthy,” Mandel added. “Everyone is sitting at home quietly by themselves while I feel strongly that I’d want to shout about it.”
It’s not simply about maintaining a healthy body and mind versus isolation and dejection for individuals.
Susan Patterson was once again forced to cancel the “First Night” festival in Saranac Lake, N.Y., which she helps organize, for the second year in a row.
“We had a few hundred individuals who regularly attended,” she recalled, noting that winters in her state’s northern region are lengthy and social gatherings are important.
“People have been calling to tell me how sorry they are,” she added. “I’m a little concerned that after two years of not doing it, we’ll lose momentum and enthusiasm.”
Despite the fact that she was alone, Patterson claimed that organizing the festival is also an important aspect of her winter — a method to connect and rejoice.
She sighed and shook her head. “I’m not sure what I’ll do on New Year’s Eve. Nothing, I guess.”
The holidays, according to experts, can be emotionally trying for many people whether or not there is a pandemic. Magdalena Bak-Maier, a neuroscientist and wellness coach who spoke with NPR, said connecting with others whenever possible this season is particularly vital.
“We can’t do it alone, so when people are feeling helpless in any circumstance, we should reach out for help through every possible method rather than isolating ourselves and attempting to manage our feelings on our own,” said Bak-Maier.
“I’d want to encourage people to consider how they might build the next 24 hours,” she added. “How will you ensure that you have something nice to look forward to and take back control?”
Meanwhile, for those who wish to meet and rejoice despite the epidemic of omicron disease, public health experts are advising caution.
Most secure are those who have been vaccinated and received their booster shots. Wearing high-quality masks and keeping social distance away when feasible can also assist reduce your risk. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also advised people to congregate outside if the weather permits at a briefing this week.
“It’s a little chilly, especially in upstate New York, but it’ll be worth it when you can spend time with your loved ones and buddies at the end of next year,” Hochul remarked.
Anyone feeling unwell should definitely avoid this year’s parties, according to health officials.
“If you’re sniffling, not feeling well, stay at home,” Hochul advised. “Watch the ball drop on television, have a nice glass of champagne, and know you made the right decision.”
Netflix Is Getting Involved In The Meghan And Harry Saga
Fans of the British royal family were ecstatic when it was announced in May that Netflix will release an “At Home With” style documentary series focusing on none other than royal rebels Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex (via Page Six). The pair, who now live in California with their two children, struck a lucrative distribution deal with Netflix to share their life story.
According to several sources, the film’s release date has been evolving for weeks; will Netflix be able to air it in time with Prince Harry’s much-anticipated memoir, which is set to be published this fall, or will it not appear on screens until next year? A rep for Netflix stated at the time, “The announcement has not been made yet, and things are still in flux” (Page Six).
However, new information suggests that Netflix is attempting to capitalize on the fuss surrounding the royal family by releasing Meghan/Harry, a documentary series at the same time they release the next season of their blockbuster hit, “The Crown.”
What Netflix is aiming to do
Netflix is working “extremely hard” to release the docuseries about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex by the end of the year, according to an inside source, in order for it to be available on living rooms throughout the world in time for both Prince Harry’s upcoming tell-all book and the network’s own royal drama “The Crown.”
“There’s a lot to organize and a lot of things going on here,” said one source to Page Six. “Netflix wants to make sure they don’t get scooped by Harry’s book, so they’re coming in hard.” The fifth season of “The Crown” is set to premiere on Netflix this November (via BTV). The final season will pick up in the 1980s, focusing on the marital issues faced by Princess Diana and Prince Charles, Harry’s parents.
It’s uncertain whether Netflix will be able to actualize this mythical combination, but we’ll keep you informed!
Instagram knows you don’t like its changes. They don’t care.
Instagram has released numerous improvements in recent years in an attempt to transition from a social media platform to an e-commerce behemoth, messaging application, and, most recently, a short-form video discovery platform comparable to TikTok.
Now this public identity crisis is bleeding into its user base.
Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, addressed the situation on Tuesday morning in a bid to prevent further damage. Wearing a bright yellow pullover and facing the camera, he attempted to quieten a mounting rebellion from prominent Instagrammers.
On Sunday, Kim Kardashian West and other high-profile personalities shared a black-and-white image that read: “Make Instagram Instagram Again. (Stop trying to be TikTok I just want to see cute photos of my friends.) Sincerely, everyone.” The viral story, written by a 21-year-old influencer named Tatiana Bruening, has more than 1.9 million likes as of Wednesday morning.
In the video, Mosseri explained that the app was in transition and that some features, such as a full-screen feed, were simply tests. “There’s a lot going on on Instagram right now,” he said. “We’re experimenting with a number of different changes to the app, and so we’re hearing a lot of concerns from all of you.” But the rapid succession of new features and tests has prompted even its most devoted users to ask if Instagram itself understands what it’s doing.
“Instagram has become overcrowded with so many different types of content happening at the same time,” Bruening said. “Everyone has been feeling the same thing at the same time, but a lot of people have been too afraid to say anything.”
Many changes to the app have been made, including but not limited to: eliminating chronological timelines, elevating photo posts, and downplaying algorithmic discovery. A Change.org petition initiated by Bruening aims to restore many of these features, including a chronological timeline, priority for photo postings, and removing the Reels video tool. By Wednesday morning, it had more than 190,000 supporters.
Instagram, which has more than 1 billion monthly active users as of 2021, is still vulnerable to competition from TikTok, which boasts about 400 million monthly active users. While Instagram continues to outpace TikTok in terms of total number of users, short-form video app use has exploded in recent years. In 2020, TikTok became the most-downloaded app in the world, and its young user base began spending more time on it than Instagram and Facebook. The earnings report from Instagram’s parent firm Meta is expected to be published on Wednesday, and it will show if TikTok has harmed its market share.
The Instagram controversy has spilled over into the physical realm. Last Saturday, several dozen content producers gathered outside the firm’s New York headquarters to protest its restrictive community standards and modifications that make locating new users difficult.
How to fix your ‘trash’ Instagram feed — at least temporarily
However, the organization is attempting to move closer to the entertainment world. According to a person familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Instagram owner Meta is establishing an advisory board that will include top entertainment executives, managers, and publicists. The plan has been in the works for over a year, but outreach to possible board members began this week. The board will not focus on specific product improvements, but rather on how Meta may collaborate with the entertainment industry more closely. Others, on the other hand, believe Instagram’s intentions may yet be validated because only the platform has the data to see what is and isn’t working.
The fact that Instagram is putting out so much effort to challenge its basic purpose of connecting with friends and relatives, according to some pundits, speaks to how radically social media has evolved. “Making that content harder to access shows the competitive landscape they’re in right now,” said Matt Perault, director of the Center on Technology Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “It might be totally necessary that they pivot, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll succeed in this new world.”
Instagram will have to pay attention to the proper people and navigate the fallout from either side if it wants to weather the storm. “There’s a war between people who want Instagram to be more like Snapchat and people who want it to be more TikTok,” Woodbury said. “Right now the former group is larger and louder.”
Inside Khloé Kardashian’s Huge Baby News With Tristan Thompson
Sources tell TMZ that Khloé Kardashian is expecting a baby via surrogate with her ex-boyfriend Tristan Thompson. According to a spokesperson for Kardashian, the news is true. Us Weekly reported that the confirmation read: “Khloé is incredibly grateful to the extraordinary surrogate for such a beautiful blessing. We’d like to ask for kindness and privacy so that Khloé can focus on her family.” The baby was conceived in November, implying the surrogate should deliver any time between August and September.
Kardashian and Thompson already have a daughter named True, but the good news is somewhat tempered by the fact that the pair are no longer together. More so, Thompson stated that he had cheated on Kardashian with fitness trainer Maralee Nichols during the pregnancy – and that he fathered a kid with her (via The U.S. Sun). “Khloé, you don’t deserve this,” he wrote in an Instagram post. “You don’t deserve the heartache and humiliation I have caused you.”
Unfortunately, Thompson’s vow of fidelity proved to be as insincere as his relationship with Kardashian. Just months later, the couple called it quits after a model accused him of getting too cozy with her, according to Page Six. He was also photographed attending a soiree at which he entered a notorious “hookup room” with three other females. Many people thought the two had split up following these things, but the latest statement has them wondering where they stand now.
Are two-time parents Khloé and Tristan back together?
In the case of Khloé Kardashian’s pregnancy, history is repeating itself. In early 2022, when she was recording “The Kardashians,” Khloé experienced one of the most difficult periods in her life, discovering Tristan Thompson’s latest indiscretion. After years of marriage, it was revealed that four years ago, he had been cheating on her while she was pregnant with their daughter True, who is now three (via Insider). Not to mention, with her younger sister Kylie’s best friend, Jordan.
Although she is concentrating on having a second kid, Kardashian is focusing on becoming a mother for the second time. According to ET Online, a source said, “The two have long said they wanted True to have a sibling, and Khloé even told her family she’d do it without Tristan if she needed to.” Her doctor, according to Us Weekly, informed her that if she tried to conceive naturally again, she was at high danger of having a miscarriage. Which is why Kardashian and Thompson decided to move forward with a surrogate. Page Six has also reported that the pair will be welcoming a baby boy, as “Khloé has always wanted a little brother for True.”
Fans want to know if this means Kardashian and Thompson are back together. No, according on the ET source: “The two aren’t together and Khloé will have the baby full time, but Khloé wants Tristan in both the kids’ lives as much as he wants to be.” The two had already been cordial for the family’s sake. The pair not only watched True’s dance recital together on Father’s Day 2022, but they also had lunch with the rest of the extended Kardashian family afterwards, as reported by TMZ.