Coronavirus Special Report
January 16-22 2021
Read all about it! Global Coronavirus deaths pass the 2-million mark and near the 100-million case plateau. More than 390,000 395,000 400,000 405,000 408,000 have died in the United States as we near the 25-million mark. The Biden Administration expects another 100,000 deaths in the next month. Flying is sagging in Europe as nations tighten their lockdowns. The U.S. sees a small Martin Luther King Day Weekend surge. And much more. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for January 21, 2021

States are running out of vaccines even though less than half (16.5 million) of the existing supply (36 million) have been administered. What went wrong? The new Biden Administration claims the Trump Administration had no vaccination plan other than dumping the doses on the states and letting them arrange the last-mile distribution. Here are today's other developments:
        Flagged   There were 182,695 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 4,375. That's a lot more tiny flags and candles in the dark.
        The big slump   The TSA didn't report traffic numbers yesterday. But it released two-day stats this morning and results are notable. On Tuesday, 560,190 people passed through airport checkpoints, representing just 29.9% of 2020 volume. That's the lowest percentage of the new year. There were even fewer people (542,338) passing through checkpoints yesterday. That was ever-so-slightly better as a percentage (30.1%) of 2020 volume.
        Doom patrol ...   United Airlines became the second carrier to report fourth-quarter numbers and they are, of course, dreadful. Revenues were down 69% compared to 2019's comparable period. Expenses fell 44%, but the full year net loss was $7.1 billion. The daily cash burn in the fourth quarter averaged $19 million, down $5 million from the third quarter.
        No Dutch treats   KLM is abruptly cancelling most long-haul flights into and out of Amsterdam. Some intra-Europe flights will also be dumped. Cancellations start tomorrow. The airline says the move is a response to new virus rules in the Netherlands. Perhaps not so separately, the airline also says it'll slash as many as 1,000 more staff positions.
        District dining   Washington officials say indoor dining can resume tomorrow in the district. Restaurants will be able to serve at 25% of capacity. Many Metro subway stations are also beginning to reopen as the Inauguration lockdown ends.
        No glass-half-full stuff   Eurocontrol's latest estimate for capacity shows most major carriers down from 56% (Turkish Airlines) to 96% (Ryanair, EasyJet and Wizz Air). British Airways was down 90%, Lufthansa off 86% and Air France was down 67%.

Coronavirus Update for January 20, 2021

Today is Inauguration Day and Joe Biden becomes the 46th president of the United States. It is also exactly one year since the first case of Coronavirus was confirmed. More than 400,000 are now dead from a virus former press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said would never come here. Here are today's other developments:
        Legacy   There were 177,256 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 2,769. That leaves more than 400,000 dead from a disease now-outgoing President Trump repeatedly dismissed.
        Sure, now ...   The average domestic air fare declined to $245 in the third quarter of 2020. That's the lowest on record since the Bureau of Transportation Statistics began keeping records in 1995. It's also down nearly 30% from the $349 average fare in the third quarter of 2019.
        Drink up   Norway will lift the nationwide ban on alcohol sales starting Friday.
        Finger in the dike   The Netherlands will impose a nationwide curfew from 8:30 pm through 4:30 am starting on Friday. Travelers arriving in the country will now be required to have a negative Coronavirus test.
        Germany   extended its nationwide lockdown until February 14. Schools and all non-essential retail shops must stay shuttered. Companies are asked to allow employees to work from home until at least March 15.
        Oh, Canada!   Two entire planes operated by Air Transat were affected by Coronavirus in recent days. The Toronto Sun has the details.

Coronavirus Update for January 19, 2021

China reported 2020 GDP growth of 2.3%, the lowest in decades. However, China is probably the only major nation that recorded GDP growth in 2020. Here are today's other developments:
        Just before 400,000 deaths   There were 141,999 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,403. We'll pass through the 400,000-mark today.
        Where we are   The TSA says 878,048 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 38.1% of 2020 volume, right around where it's been for the last few days.
        Hello Goodbye   The Trump Administration said it would lift the ban on international travel from the United Kingdom, the European Union and Brazil. It tabbed January 26 as the effective date. The incoming Biden Administration, which takes over tomorrow, says it won't lift any travel bans.
        Not so Great Britain   An estimated 12% of people in England were infected with Coronavirus by the end of December, according to official statistics. There was also a record-high 1,610 deaths in the last 24-hour period. This naturally has hurt British aviation. Commercial aircraft traffic was down 82% yesterday compared to 2019 volume, according to Eurocontrol.
        Tattletales   House Democrats have requested hotels and car rental firms help identify people who rioted at the Capitol on January 6. CNBC has some of the details.
        More on O'Hare man   Aditya Singh, who spent three months airside at Chicago/O'Hare, was originally headed home to India from California to complete his master's degree. His airport odyssey seems a peculiar behavioral break. The Chicago Tribune has the details.
        Endroit malheureux   Paris Disneyland won't reopen on February 12 as previously promised. The new opening date? April 2.

Coronavirus Update for January 18, 2021

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. You can't visit his monument in Washington because everything has been fenced off or closed down after the Capitol Riots. Here are today's other developments:
        Weekend respite   There were 177,918 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,749. Monday reminder: Weekend statistics are fragmentary and incomplete. So what looks like a respite is actually a statistical weekend quirk.
        Sunday statis   The TSA says 810,654 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 40.5% of 2020 volume, virtually identical to last Sunday.
        Halfsies   Global commercial airline capacity stands at 53.4 million seats per week. That is half the capacity of the similar week last year, according to OAG, the industry schedulekeepers.
        Airside antics   A California man who says he was afraid to fly because of the Coronavirus spent three months airside at Chicago/O'Hare Airport. A local Chicago news operation has the details.
        Hong Kong's slow death   Hong Kong International handled just 8.8 million passengers in 2020, an 87.7% decline from 2019 volume. And 2019's passenger traffic (71.5 million) was lower than 2018's volume (74.5 million) due to the democracy movement and China's subsequent crackdown.

Coronavirus Update for January 17, 2021

"By the middle of February, we expect half a million deaths in this country," Dr. Rochelle Walensky said this morning on the CBS program Face the Nation. Walensky is the incoming director of the Centers for Disease Control. Here are today's other developments:
        Just another 9/11 yesterday   There were 202,758 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,352, just another 9/11's worth of death.
        Falling up   The TSA says 690,438 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's down more than 200,000 from Friday, but is a slight upswing (38.7%) compared to 2020's volume.
        Amtrak   says it is curtailing schedules in an around Washington this week due to the threat by far-right seditionists against the Inaugural. The details are here.
        Speaking of insurrectionists ...   Washington hotels had their metaphoric hands full policing hordes of "stop the steal" pro-Trumpers that descended on their properties for January 6. It turns out that people who'd attack the Capitol aren't exactly model hotel guests, either. The Washington Post has the details.
        Raised fists gather no funds   Missouri Senator Josh Hawley gave a raised-fist salute to Capitol rioters and then went on the floor of the Senate and claimed election irregularities. Apparently, hailing seditionists and lying about elections is enough for Florida resorts to cancel your upcoming fundraiser. The Orlando Sentinel has the details.

Coronavirus Update for January 16, 2021

Seven months ago today, with about 110,000 Americans dead, Vice President Pence penned an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal. His claim: There was no second wave of Coronavirus. More than 280,000 have died since that day. Here are today's other developments:
        Tell 'em Mike Pence sent ya.   There were 215,941 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,409.
        Small surge   The TSA says 903,039 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That is 38.5% of 2020's volume, reflecting a small surge for the Martin Luther King weekend.
        November swoon   The Transportation Department says the 10 "marketing network carriers" (basically the entire system) scheduled about 390,000 domestic flights in November, 2020. They ran nearly 650,000 in November, 2019.
        Feeble Friday   Eurocontrol, which handles European air traffic control, says that 10,679 flights operated in Europe's skies yesterday. It's down from 11,452 last Friday.
        Trump's travel travails   Donald Trump becomes the ex-President on Wednesday and returns to a hotel-and-resort-dependent business in turmoil. The Los Angeles Times has the dreary details about the Trump brand.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 9-15

Read all about it! Coronavirus cases globally surge and more than 367,000 370,000 375,000 380,000 385,000 390,000 have died in the United States. Flying is plunging after the New Year's rush. Airlines ban rowdy travelers flying back from last week's Capitol riots. Washington and the area's airports lock down ahead of next week's Inauguration. Travel numbers from 2020 continue to show the depth of the industry's crisis while current lockdowns force carriers to cut capacity again. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 1-8

The new year starts with more of the same: Coronavirus cases in the United States near 21 million and more than 345,000 350,000 355,000 360,000 365,000 367,000 have died. Canada and England make it even tougher to enter the country as other nations tighten Coronavirus restrictions. More travel shuts down. U.S. flying zigzags after a "huge" Christmas and New Year rush. Click here for the week's updates.

2020 Daily Coronavirus Updates

We began day-by-day tracking of the Coronavirus' effect on travel in late January last year. You can see everything we posted in bullet-point form, grouped into weekly segments, by clicking 2020's archives.