This year's Grammy Awards ceremony has been postponed out of an abundance of caution after the US records 869,187 COVID cases on Tuesday, even though virus deaths remain relatively low.
The Recording Academy and CBS confirmed on Wednesday that the 64th Annual Awards ceremony would be 'postponed' due to rising COVID cases spurred on by an Omicron surge.
'After careful consideration and analysis with city and state officials, health and safety experts, the artist community and our many partners, the Recording Academy and CBS have postponed the 64th annual Grammy Awards show,' the official postponement announcement said.
The statement continued: 'The health and safety of those in our music community, the live audience and the hundreds of people who work tirelessly to produce our show remains our top priority.
'Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31st simply contains too many risks. We look forward to celebrating Music's Biggest Night on a future date, which will be announced soon.'
The announcement comes one day after the US recorded 869,187 new cases, down from the record set on Monday when America became the first country in the world to record more than one million COVID-19 cases in 24 hours.
As of Wednesday the country's seven-day rolling average of new cases stood at 565,042, a 114 percent increase from a week ago, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
However, deaths remain relatively low, with 2,384 new deaths on Tuesday, a decline of 13 percent from week-ago levels on a rolling average basis. Hospitalizations are rising, but remain well below their peak last January.
The wildly transmissible Omicron variant, which appears milder particularly among vaccinated individuals, is fueling the surge in cases, but experts say the wave could burn out within the month and fall off quickly.
On Wednesday, Center for Disease Control director Rochelle Walensky confirmed that the agency estimates that the Omicron variant now represents 95% of all cases across the US, and Delta makes up the remaining 5%.
'The sharp rise in cases and the emergence of the more transmissible Omicron variant emphasizes the importance of vaccinations and boosters,' she said.
President Joe Biden, in an address to the nation on Tuesday, again blamed those who refused to get vaccinated.
The president emphasized that vaccines, booster shots and therapeutic drugs have lessened the danger for the overwhelming majority of Americans who are fully vaccinated.
'You can still get COVID, but it's highly unlikely, very unlikely, that you´ll become seriously ill,' Biden said of vaccinated people.
'There's no excuse, there's no excuse for anyone being unvaccinated,' he added. 'This continues to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated.' He also encouraged Americans, including newly eligible teenagers 12 to 15, to get a booster dose of the vaccines for maximum protection.
The surge has affected the biggest night in music, which was originally scheduled to be an in-person event on Monday, January 31 held at the Crypto.com Arena in Downtown Los Angeles.
The move to postpone mirror's last year's Grammys, which were scaled down and held outdoors at the Los Angeles Convention Center after moving its ceremony date from January 31, 2021 to March 14, 2021 due to Covid-related concerns.
Comedian Trevor Noah hosted last year and is set to host this year's ceremony as well.
While no artist has yet to publicly comment on the postponement, fans have expressed disappointment but said it was the right move.
'I don't watch any of those shows, but it makes sense for health of our citizens,' one person tweeted.
Another person tweeted: 'Sad for the artists, but very happy they won't be put in a potentially dangerous situation.'
'Tbh if it’s for the health and safety of everyone I say go for it... I don’t want it to be postponed but I understand,' another person tweeted.
No performers for this year's awards have been announced yet, but nominations were revealed in on November 23, 2021.
Composer and musical artist Jon Batiste surpassed all nominees with an impressive 11 nominations, while Justin Bieber, Doja Cat and H.E.R. scored eight each and Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo tied with seven.
Reunited Swedish pop group ABBA scored their first-ever Grammy nomination in their 48-year history for 'I Still Have Faith In You' in the Record of the Year category.
Both Lil Nas X and Brandi Carlile got an impressive five nominations each, while Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak’s group Silk Sonic received four.