Atlanta Peach Drop canceled for third straight year

The New Year’s Eve Peach Drop became the latest event to be canceled due to the surge of COVID-19 cases caused by the omicron variant.

It will be the third straight year that the Atlanta tradition that started in 1989 will be sidelined due to the pandemic. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms made the announcement on Tuesday.

“In consultation with public health officials, we have made the very difficult decision to cancel the Peach Drop,” Bottoms said in a news release. “As positive COVID-19 cases rise, I encourage everyone to be safe, get vaccinated and follow CDC guidelines.”

The announcement came one week after Bottoms reinstated a citywide indoor mask mandate. The order requires all people in public places — including private businesses — to wear a mask or cloth face covering over the nose and mouth while indoors. 

The number of people hospitalized statewide due to COVID-19 has climbed by more than 50% in a week, rising above 1,900 on Monday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. That’s the highest number since mid-October.

The share of positive molecular PCR tests hit an all-time high of almost 31% on Monday, according to GDPH.

The soaring number of infections has pushed Atlanta-area emergency rooms past capacity. As of Monday night, 21 local emergency rooms were turning away ambulances, while only 10 ERs at hospitals caring for adults were receiving them, according to GDPH.