Major sports and entertainment events canceled, rescheduled due to rising COVID-19 cases

New York and Washington, D.C., saw a record number of daily cases this week.

December 19, 2021, 5:48 PM

With a rise in COVID-19 cases across the nation alongside spread of the new omicron variant, several major events this week have been rescheduled or canceled.

New York and Washington, D.C., on Friday and Wednesday, respectively, reported the most COVID-19 cases in a single day, breaking their pandemic records.

In sports

The NBA announced Sunday it has postponed five upcoming games "because of players and staff members entering the NBA's health and safety protocols."

Postponed games include three on Sunday, Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks and New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers. Monday's game between the Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors along with Tuesday's Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets matchup were also postponed.

The NFL on Friday rescheduled three games, including moving Saturday's contest between the Cleveland Browns and the Las Vegas Raiders to Monday at 5 p.m. ET.

All members of the organization who recently tested positive were vaccinated, according to a statement from Cleveland Browns Senior Vice President of Communications Peter John-Baptiste.

Sunday's games between the Washington Football Team and Philadelphia Eagles and between the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks were postponed to Tuesday.

In a statement, the NFL said they made these schedule changes "based on medical advice" after "seeing a new, highly transmissible form of the virus."

This trend is observable in other sports as well, as the NHL earlier announced it was rescheduling all games for the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers through at least the Christmas weekend amid a COVID-19 outbreak.

The organization pointed to rising positive cases within the last two days and the continued spread of COVID-19 as a concern.

The Calgary Flames, which has already had six games postponed, will now not play through Dec. 23.

On Saturday, the NHL also announced that the Boston Bruins' and Nashville Predators' games will be postponed through at least Dec. 26 due to rising COVID-19 cases. The move impacts four Bruins games and three Predators games.

Additionally, Saturday night's Toronto-Vancouver game and Sunday's Arizona-Vancouver and Toronto-Seattle games have been postponed after "a number" of Toronto and Vancouver players entered COVID-19 protocols over the past two days, the league said.

On Sunday, the NHL announced that all games between U.S. and Canadian teams scheduled for Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 will be postponed and rescheduled.

Several college basketball games this weekend were also canceled, including No. 18 Tennessee vs. Memphis, Iona vs. No. 16 Seton Hall, No. 4 UCLA vs. North Carolina, No. 23 Colorado State vs. Tulsa and No. 15 Ohio State vs. No. 21 Kentucky. No. 2 Duke actually had two games canceled after it tried to schedule matchups against Cleveland State and then Loyola (Maryland), but each fell through due to virus concerns. Seton Hall, enjoying one of its best seasons in decades, has already forfeited its conference opener against rival St. John's on Monday as well due to a shortage of healthy players.

In entertainment

People talk with the staff member of Radio City Music Hall after cancellations of The Rockettes performance due to Covid-19 cases in New York, Dec. 17, 2021.
Yuki Iwamura/AP

Rising cases have also affected events within the entertainment sphere. "A Christmas Carol" at Los Angeles' Ahmanson Theatre was canceled due to breakthrough infections among the show's cast.

In New York City, the iconic Radio City Rockettes canceled the rest of the season of "The Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes" because of "increasing challenges from the pandemic," the group said in a statement Friday evening.

"We had hoped we could make it through the season and are honored to have hosted hundreds of thousands of fans at more than 100 shows over the last seven weeks," the statement continued. "We have loved bringing back this cherished tradition that helps usher in the holiday season in New York City and look forward to welcoming fans back to Radio City Music Hall in 2022."

On New York's Broadway, "Moulin Rouge! The Musical on Broadway" also canceled its Friday show due to positive cases within the show company.

Earlier this week, several other Broadway shows, including "Hamilton" and "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child," canceled shows due to infections, New York ABC station WABC reported.

On Dec. 12, singer-songwriter Doja Cat pulled out of future iHeartRadio's Jingle Ball Tour performances after testing positive for COVID-19.

She announced on Instagram that she tested positive after a few members of her production team also tested positive.