Coronavirus Special Report
January 9-15, 2021
Read all about it! Coronavirus cases globally surge out of control 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. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for January 15, 2021

Road deaths in the United States have soared since some lockdowns ended. The details and statistics are here. Here are today's other developments:
        Death grinds on   There were 235,255 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,928. Over the past week, 23,368 have died, a 7-day record.
        January is January   The TSA says 803,688 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 35.8% of 2020's volume, right about where it was on Monday.
        Delta Air Lines   traffic at its Boston and New York hubs is just 20-25% of pre-Coronavirus levels, according to president Glen Hauenstein.
        U.S. hotel occupancy   slipped to 37% for the week ended January 9, down from 65.3% during the same week in 2020.
        Glass 60% empty   Eurocontrol, which handles European air traffic control, says the 7-day average of aircraft traffic was just 38.2% of 2020 levels.
        France   is imposing a 6pm nationwide curfew that begins Saturday. France will also require a negative PCR test no older than 72 hours when people enter the country from a non-EU nation. A 7-day quarantine will continue to be required.
        Zona Rossa   Three Italian regions--Lombardy, Sicily and South Tyrol--are now "red zone" areas. That means all retail must close again. Only supermarkets, pharmacies and shops selling necessities may open.

Coronavirus Update for January 14, 2021

The existing narrative--that the Coronavirus started in November, 2020, in Wuhan, China--has an interesting side note: Italian researches say that country's "Patient 1" also was infected as early as November. The details are here. Here are today's other developments:
        Death takes a (very short) holiday   There were 238,295 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. If you consider this a victory, the daily death toll dipped slightly to 3,959 yesterday.
        January blues   The TSA says 567,401 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 30.2% of 2020's volume. January and February are traditionally among the slowest flying months of the year.
        Delta Air Lines   is first out of the box with fourth-quarter earnings and numbers are horrific, of course. Revenues were down 70% year-on-year and operating and net loss were each about $12.5 billion. Positives? Expenses fell 27% and average daily cash burn dropped to $12 million, half the third quarter's $24 million.
        Portugal   is going back into lockdown effective midnight local time. Except for food shops and pharmacies, retail shops must close. Restaurants are limited to takeaway or delivery service. "The rule is clear: stay home," Prime Minister António Costa told a news conference. "Teleworking is obligatory wherever possible."
        Germany shrinks  The German economy shrank 5% in 2020, the first time Europe's largest economy contracted since the 2009 Great Recession.

Coronavirus Update for January 13, 2021

President Trump's second impeachment by the House of Representatives today is overshadowing an equally ugly reality: Another record number of Americans (4,327) died yesterday from the Coronavirus. Here are today's other developments:
        What are you not understanding?   There were 215,805 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 4,327, another new one-day record.
        Plunging   The TSA says 520,117 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 30.7% of 2020's volume, a five-point plunge from yesterday. It's also the lowest raw total in more than a month. But note: The second Tuesday in January is one of the slowest travel days of any year.
        Clicking your heels three times won't do it.   The CDC says all passengers on international flights to the United States--returning American citizens, U.S. residents and visitors--must show a negative Coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of departure. The new restriction is effective January 26. Full details are still unclear and plans for execution apparently will rest with the airlines. The CDC statement is here.
        Air Canada   says it'll lop 25% off its first-quarter schedule. (WestJet did the same last week.) Both carriers blame Canada's new testing regimen.
        Quiet skies   Eurocontrol, which handles Europe's air traffic control, says that aircraft traffic in Europe yesterday was down 65% compared to last year.
        Blocked   The NBA has cancelled five games in three nights due to Coronavirus-related issues and the league is now tightening its quarantine and in-game rules.
        Airport as front line   Another U.S. Congressman, Democrat Lou Correa (CA-46) was heckled and hassled at an airport last week. Correa's interaction with Trump supporters at Washington/Dulles is chronicled here by The Orange County Register.

Coronavirus Update for January 12, 2021

Disneyland, purportedly the happiest place on earth, has been closed during the pandemic. But here's some happy news: The park has been designated a vaccine super-site for hard-hit Southern California. The details are here. Here are today's other developments:
        Die. Repeat. Die. Repeat.   There were 204,652 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,731.
        Going down   The TSA says that 708,177 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 35.5% of 2020's volume, the lowest since New Year's Day.
        The twelfth of never   Toronto-based Porter Airlines has once again delayed a restart. The new launch date is now supposedly March 29. The carrier hasn't flown since March 20, 2020.
        Emirates Airline   says it will resume flights from Seattle to Dubai on February 1. Service from Dallas/Fort Worth and San Francisco returns on March 2.
        Tulsa Airport   has opened an on-site Coronavirus testing facility. The details are here.
        Tumbling dice   Eurocontrol, which handles Europe's air traffic control, says that commercial aircraft capacity yesterday was just 37% of 2019 volume. Some carriers tumbled even more. EasyJet, for example, was off 93%.

Coronavirus Update for January 11, 2021

It is now one year since China acknowledged the first official death from Coronavirus. CNN says more than 28,000 have died from the virus in the United States since the beginning of 2021. Here are today's other developments:
        A view to a kill   There were 216,290 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,821.
        Fluttering   The TSA says that 886,536 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's a substantial increase in raw numbers since Saturday, but a lower percentage (40.6%) of volume compared to 2020.
        Glass half empty   Global airline capacity now stands at 50% of industry capacity at this time last year, according to OAG. The industry schedulekeepers say capacity had reached 75% at various times since the pandemic lows in mid-April.
        Less than half full   Eurocontrol, which handles Europe's air traffic control, says commercial aircraft capacity during the first ten days of the year is just 39% of 2019 volume.
        86 the raclette   Half the restaurants in Switzerland could close by the end of March, according to GastroSuisse, the industry trade group. (The group wants government financial support, of course.) A poll of about 4,000 restaurant and hotel owners says that 98% are in urgent need of help. Before the pandemic, 80% said they were financially sound.

Coronavirus Update for January 10, 2021

West Virginia leads the nation in getting vaccines into the arms of residents. NPR has the details and Bloomberg offers a state-by-state chart of distribution efficiency. Here are today's other developments:
        But let's worry about Twitter bans, shall we?   There were 273,854 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 3,735.
        Down but up, too   The TSA says that 709,444 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. Although that's down more than 60,000 from yesterday, it represents 42% of 2020 volume because last year's similar day was one of the lowest traffic days (1,687,974) in the pre-pandemic period.
        Now Voyager   For the week ended December 27, domestic flights averaged 74 passengers per departure, down from 99 flyers in 2019. The load factor was 61%, down from 88% in 2019. The statistics come from the trade group of U.S. airlines.
        Keep Aviation Great Again   Capitol Police will offer escorts to Congresspeople and Senators arriving at the three Washington-area airports. The extra protection will continue until at least January 20, which is Inauguration Day. It's a result of airport harassment by MAGA and QAnon supporters (see yesterday's item) after Wednesday's Capitol riots. Politico has the details.
        No one's knocking at the door   International tourist arrivals in Spain fell by about 90% in November, 2020, compared to November, 2019. During the first eleven months of 2020, 19 million foreign tourists visited, down around 78% from the similar period in 2019. The estimates are from Spain's National Institute of Statistics (INE).
        Cyprus   has gone into its second lockdown. Residents on the island are only permitted to leave their home twice a day. The restrictions last until at least the end of the month.
        Whiplash   German automobile production plunged last year. About 3.5 million vehicles were produced, the lowest volume in 45 years, says the industry trade group. New registrations in Germany were 2.9 million, down 19% compared to 2019 and the lowest since reunification in 1990.

Coronavirus Update for January 9, 2021

A Boeing 737-500 operated by an Indonesian carrier crashed into the Java Sea carrying 62 passengers from Jakarta to Pontianak on the island of Borneo. has the details. Here are today's other developments:
        We DON'T see dead people   There were 283,204 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 3,456, down about 600 from Thursday's record high.
        Flat Friday   The TSA says that 772,471 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 37.2% of 2020 volume.
        Mona Lisa frowns   The Louvre, the world's biggest museum, suffered a drop in visitors of more than 70% in 2020 compared to 2019, the French institution said.
        Test and travel   Cleveland Hopkins Airport now has an on-site Coronavirus testing facility. The details are here.
        January blahs   Eurocontrol says that aircraft traffic on Friday in Europe's skies was down 58% compared to 2019. Separately, Madrid/Barajas Airport has been closed since Friday evening local time due to a freak, heavy snowstorm that blanketed much of Spain. It is expected to remain closed to traffic until Sunday afternoon local time.
        Make Aviation Great Again   Alaska Airlines says that it banned 14 people who traveled from Washington/Dulles to Seattle after Wednesday's Capitol Riot. The Seattle Times has details. Separately, Delta Air Lines ejected two unruly travelers before a flight from Washington/National to Minneapolis, the carrier confirmed. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasn't so lucky. He was heckled by a crowd of Trump and QAnon supporters as he tried to board a flight. The Washington Post has details and video. A few days earlier, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) was heckled at Salt Lake City before boarding his flight to Washington. The New York Daily News has those details.
        Eat suite   The trend of hotels renting suites to diners desperate for an out-of-home meal is picking up steam. The New York Times reports on the dining trend.

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.