Coronavirus Special Report
January 23-29 2021
Read all about it! More than 412,000 415,000 420,000 425,000 430,000 433,000 Americans have died as we pass the 25-million case mark. U.S. travel slumps as the traditional January downturn depresses flying. Israel again shuts down flights. Sweden and Finland bar their Nordic neighbors and European nations close their borders to many visitors. Airline fourth-quarter "earnings" are awful. Bricks-and-mortar retailers close shops by the hundreds. And more. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for January 29, 2021

Johnson & Johnson today announced that its inexpensive one-shot vaccine was 66% effective against Covid 19. It is also extremely effective against serious infection and hospitalizations. The J&J shot can be manufactured quickly and requires no special handling. Here are today's other developments:
        Not fast enough   There were 168,620 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 4,000. The awful daily death toll continues to be very high, but the new-case number seems to have plateaued albeit it at 150,000. That's a small victory, but a victory nevertheless.
        Thursday tranquility   The TSA says 750,558 people passed through airport checkpoints Thursday. That represents 35.9% of 2020 volume, right about where it's been for every Thursday in January.
        Knocking off the rust   Pilots say their skills are rusty after the pandemic layoffs. No deaths or injuries have been attributed to out-of-practice pilots. The Los Angeles Times has the details.
        It's a family affair   American Airlines confirms that it tossed a family of 20--10 adults and 10 children--from a flight originating in Salt Lake City and headed to Dallas/Fort Worth. The argument was over the proper use of masks. The family said it was cooperative. AA says otherwise--although it rebooked the group and they eventually flew to Hawaii. The details are here.
        Anchorage   is loosening its Coronavirus restrictions. Effective February 1, restaurants and bars can serve indoors at 50% of capacity. (Alcohol sales must end at midnight, however.) Retail businesses will also be permitted to operate at 50% capacity.
        Muy malo   Spain said its economy contracted by 11% in 2020. Spain, of course, has been one of the hardest hit countries during the pandemic.
        Can not   The prestigious Cannes Film Festival has been delayed until July 6. It was originally scheduled for May 11.
        Portugal   today closed its land border with Spain for at least two weeks.

Coronavirus Update for January 28, 2021

A year ago today was the first Daily Coronavirus Update on this page. All the items were about airlines dropping flights to Hong Kong and mainland China. Now millions are dead and we still can't convince many Americans to wear a mask or take reasonable precautions. Here are today's developments:
        Death, hope and perspective   There were 152,478 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,943. As recently as November, we were frightened by the idea of 100,000 new daily infections. Now we look at a string of 150,000-case days as hope for a slowdown in the atrocious daily death toll.
        January being January   The TSA says 536,935 people passed through airport checkpoints Wednesday. That represents 30.2% of 2020 volume. The traditional January slowdown comes just in time to help slow the spread of the virus. We hope.
        Let's get small   The U.S. economy shrank 3.5% in 2020, according to figures released today by the Commerce Department. GDP suffered its largest annual decline since 1946. It did grow by 4% in the fourth quarter, however.
        EasyJet   says it expect to fly "no more" than 10% of its 2019 schedule in the first quarter of this year. The gigantic European discount flew about 18% of its 2019 schedule in the fourth quarter of 2020.
        We're closed!   Germany plans to halt all travel from the United Kingdom, Brazil, South Africa and Portugal. For its part, Portugal barred travel from Brazil, the largest Portuguese speaking nation. And the United Kingdom has created a list of 30 "red states" that includes Portugal and many African and South American nations. Arrivals from those countries--including UK citizens--will be required to submit to a mandatory 10-day hotel quarantine.
        Aloha oy!   Hawaii hotels will be half-empty throughout 2021, according to a report from the AHLA, the industry trade group.
        Fuhgeddaboudit   Twenty percent of New York City's 705 hotels have permanently closed, according to city planning statistics. That wipes out about a third of the city's room total. But it could be even worse, according to the city's hotel association. The 146 closed properties tabbed by the city planning numbers is actually closer to 200, says Vijay Dandapani, the group's president.
        Hard numbers   Several airlines reported "earnings" today and the bottom lines are brutal. American Airlines reported a net loss of $8.9 billion. JetBlue Airways tabbed 2020 net loss at $1.36 billion. Southwest Airlines' 2020 net loss of more than $3 billion is its first annual decline since 1972.

Coronavirus Update for January 27, 2021

Boeing has reported a 2020 loss of $11.9 billion. The causes? The continued grounding of the 737 MAX, the delay of the 777X and, oh, yeah, the collapse of flying during the pandemic. Here are today's other developments:
        Light, tunnel, death--and hope   There were 146,640 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 4,087. The shocking death toll is disastrous, of course, but there really is some light at the end of that damned tunnel. The new-case count continues to fall and that means hope ahead.
        Down we go   The TSA says 468,933 people passed through airport checkpoints Tuesday. That represents 28.5% of 2020 volume, slowest day in January on an historically slow day. It's also the lowest raw total of travelers since July 4, 2020.
        Nordic nasty   Finland has closed its borders with Norway and Sweden. It's similar to the move Sweden made, closing the border with its Scandinavian neighbors.
        Internal borders   The CDC is "actively" discussing testing requirements for interstate travel. Reuters has the details.
        New Zealand   says its borders will probably remain closed throughout the rest of 2020, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The island nation is pursuing "travel bubbles" with Australia and some neighboring countries, however.
        Hawaiian Airlines   says its fourth-quarter revenue was down 79% compared to 4Q 2019.
        Alaska Airlines   says it expects to fly as much as 80% of its pre-pandemic schedule this summer.

Coronavirus Update for January 26, 2021

Godiva, the mass-market luxury chocolate company, says it will close or sell all of its 128 retail shops in North America. Before the pandemic, it was planning a massive bricks-and-mortar expansion. Godiva says its stores elsewhere in the world will remain open. Here are today's other developments:
        Some progress   There were 151,112 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,915. The death toll continues to be brutal, but there's a slowdown in new cases. It's now about half the record number earlier this month and that indicates the weeks ahead may be better.
        Turn, turn, turn   The TSA says 701,709 people passed through airport checkpoints Monday. That represents 35% of 2020 volume, the slowest Monday in January.
        North to Alaska   Alaska Airlines says its fourth-quarter revenue was down 59% and there was a pre-tax loss of $1.31 billion. The average daily cash burn was $4 million in the fourth quarter.
        California   lifted blanket "stay-at-home" orders across the state on Monday. The order was first imposed in Southern California on December 3. The rollback of the order should allow for the return of indoor dining and other activities.
        Cathay Pacific   carried just 39,989 passengers in December, a decrease of 98.7% compared to December, 2019. For the full year, the Hong Kong flag carrier and now-disbanded Cathay Dragon unit carried 86.9% fewer passengers than in 2019.
        There'll always be a Debenhams   The bankrupt Debenhams chain of British department stores will live on ... online. Fast-fashion giant Boohoo bought Debenhams' Web site and intellectual property, but will close all of the chain's 118 remaining retail outlets.

Coronavirus Update for January 25, 2021

The global economy lost the equivalent of 225 million full-time jobs, according to the United Nations' International Labour Organization. That's four times more than the number of jobs lost in the 2008-2009 Great Recession. Here are today's other developments:
        Maybe, we hope   There were 132,537 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,775. While weekend numbers are incomplete, and the death toll was slightly higher than the previous Sunday, the new-infection rate is sharply lower. That may be good news for days ahead.
        January being January   The TSA says 838,116 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That represents 39.2% of 2020 volume, the slowest Sunday of January so far.
        Never mind   KLM decided not to cancel its remaining long-haul flights after all. The about-face came after the airline and Dutch government worked out an agreement over testing and quarantines for cabin crews staffing flights to high-infection countries.
        Pulling up the welcome mat   The Biden Administration has decided to ban non-U.S. citizens who have recently visited South Africa. It also reimposed the ban on non-citizen visitors from Britain, Brazil, Ireland and Schengen Zone countries.
        Twenty-two skidoo   The Standard Hotel in Los Angeles has closed. Opened 22 years ago, it was the first of the small chain of upmarket properties that focused on boldfaced names and celebrity guests.
        The sky is falling, again   Aircraft traffic continues to fall in Europe's skies. An average of just 8,800 flights a day operated, according to Eurocontrol, which handles the continent's air traffic control system. That's down to 34.5% to 2019 volume after reaching about 50% last summer.

Coronavirus Update for January 24, 2021

It's come to this: Fearful of the new Coronavirus mutations, Sweden is now barring Norwegians from entering the country. It already prohibits Danes. So much for Scandinavian unity. Here are today's other developments:
        Progress?   There were 172,650 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,332. If you're looking for hope amidst the atrocious daily death toll, you can claim "progress" because new cases seem to have fallen below 200,000 a day. And fewer cases do eventually mean fewer deaths.
        Down the January ladder   The TSA says 603,527 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That represents 36.7% of 2020 volume, lower than last Saturday (38.7%), January 9 (42%) and January 2 (54.8%).
        Flight halt   Israel will once again bar all incoming and outgoing flights. The halt is effective on Monday at midnight (local time) and will last through at least the end of the month.
        America First   The United States became the first country to pass the 25-million Coronavirus case mark. That represents more than a quarter of the world's total, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins.

Coronavirus Update for January 23, 2021

Israel is now giving Covid-19 vaccines to teenagers. Israeli health officials say a quarter of the nation's population has already been vaccinated. Only about 4% of Americans have received even the first dose of a vaccine. Here are today's other developments:
        The daily dose of death   There were 189,925 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,758.
        January flats   The TSA says 755,028 people passed through airport checkpoints yesterday. That represents 35.2% of 2020 volume, about 3% lower than the previous Friday.
        Lufthansa   will require passengers to wear "either a surgical mask or an FFP2 mask or mask with the KN95/N95 standard" during boarding, throughout the flight and when disembarking. The new rule, effective February 1, bars bandanas, cloth masks and face shields.
        Bottom looks like up   Carnival Cruise Line says it will extend a suspension of departures in the United States and other parts of the world. U.S. departures will be curtailed through at least April. Australia sailings won't begin before May 19.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 16-22

Read all about it! Global Coronavirus deaths pass the 2-million mark and near the 100-million case plateau. More than 390,000 395,000 400,000 405,000 410,000 412,000 have died in the United States as we near the 25-million case mark. The Biden Administration expects 100,000 additional deaths just in the next month. Flying sags in Europe as nations tighten lockdowns. The United States sees small Martin Luther King Weekend surge, then the January malaise. And much more. Click here for the week's updates.

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.