The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Grammy Awards indefinitely postponed over omicron variant concerns

(Chris Pizzello/AP Photo)

The Recording Academy and CBS announced Wednesday that they are indefinitely postponing the 2022 Grammy Awards due to concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant. The ceremony was previously set for Jan. 31.

“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,” the organization and network wrote in a joint statement. “Given the uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant, holding the show on January 31 simply contains too many risks.”

The Grammys are only the latest entertainment industry event to be postponed over potential health risks. Multiple award ceremonies — including those hosted by the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle, as well as the Critics Choice Awards — made the decision last month to push their respective events. The embattled Golden Globes announced Tuesday that they would proceed with their Jan. 9 ceremony, but with no celebrities, audience or media in attendance and strict coronavirus protocols in place. The Sundance Film Festival, which is traditionally held in person in Park City, Utah, also announced Wednesday afternoon that it would be forgoing plans for a hybrid festival later this month in favor of one conducted fully online.

Coronavirus hits late-night shows as Seth Meyers tests positive and Jimmy Fallon urges vaccinations

“This was a difficult decision to make. As a nonprofit, our Sundance spirit is in making something work against the odds,” festival organizers wrote in a statement. “But with case numbers forecasted to peak in our host community the week of the festival we cannot knowingly put our staff and community at risk.”

Last year’s Grammys were also postponed over coronavirus concerns. The March ceremony was held in downtown Los Angeles outside its usual home at the Staples Center (since renamed the Arena). Comedian Trevor Noah hosted from an outdoor stage, stationed in front of masked attendees seated at socially distanced tables.

Noah is set to return as host of the 2022 Grammys, for which a new date “will be announced soon.”

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot designed to target both the original virus and the omicron variant. Here’s some guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

Variants: Instead of a single new Greek letter variant, a group of immune-evading omicron spinoffs are popping up all over the world. Any dominant variant will likely knock out monoclonal antibodies, targeted drugs that can be used as a treatment or to protect immunocompromised people.

Tripledemic: Hospitals are overwhelmed by a combination of respiratory illnesses, staffing shortages and nursing home closures. And experts believe the problem will deteriorate further in coming months. Here’s how to tell the difference between RSV, the flu and covid-19.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

For the latest news, sign up for our free newsletter.