Coronavirus Special Report
Jan. 30-Feb. 4 2021
Read all about it! More than 435,000 440,000 445,000 450,000 452,000 Americans have died as we pass 26 million cases. California, South Carolina and Arizona are the riskiest states for virus transmission. Canada cracks down on snowbird flights and slaps testing requirements on all arrivals. The CDC codifies President Biden's executive order on masks for travel. Portugal, the epicenter of the current outbreak, closes the country's borders for two weeks. A winter storm in the Northeast disrupts the skeletal air system. And more. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update for February 4, 2021

Infocomm, the large audiovisual trade show, is being delayed. Originally scheduled for Orlando in June, the convention has been pushed back to October 23-29. The decision was based on "holistic perspective of all factors in North America." In other words, Coronavirus. Here are today's other developments:
        Where's that progress?   There were 121,469 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Wednesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,912. Experts insist declining new-case numbers point to an imminent reduction in deaths, but fatalities continue to be extremely high.
        February being February   The TSA says 618,615 people passed through airport checkpoints on Wednesday. That's 33.5% of 2020 volume. February, especially the first week, is among the slowest periods of the year for both leisure and business travel.
        Gomen-nasai   Back in October, Japan Air Lines predicted domestic flight demand in the first quarter would be around 80% of 2019 levels. JAL now expects demand to be about 30% of 2019 levels, however. February's actual traffic may be below 20%.
        New Jersey   is lifting the statewide curfew on indoor dining. Effective Friday, a 10pm curfew is eliminated and capacity is capped at 35% instead of 25%.
        Wie ironisch   Berlin Brandenburg opened in October, nine years late. Now traffic has fallen so fast that flights will be consolidated in one terminal. By February 23, all flights will use Terminal 1.

Coronavirus Update for February 3, 2021

The pandemic is devastating economies. Latest GDP figures: Eurozone down 6.8% in 2020. Russia down 3.1%. Biggest loser: Italy, where the 2020 GDP fell 8.9%. Here are today's other developments:
        Hope?   There were 114,437 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Tuesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,530. The death rate remains appallingly high, but the experts say falling new-case numbers mean fatalities, a trailing indicator, will soon decline, too.
        I'll be home for Christmas   The TSA says 493,338 people passed through airport checkpoints on Tuesday. That's 29.4% of 2020 volume, the lowest volume since Christmas Day.
        Always blackest before ...   "The near-term outlook is darker than we expected. It’s going to be a very tough start to the year," says IATA chief economist Brian Pearce.
        Tales from travel's front line   More than 6,000 TSA agents have contracted Coronavirus. Fourteen have died. The New York Times has the details.
        Finger in the virus dike   The Netherlands is extending lockdown measures for another month, until March 2. That includes a 9pm nationwide curfew and the closure of most restaurants and bars for on-premise consumption. Retail and entertainment venues are also closed.
        Come on in, carefully   Retail shops, restaurants and bars at Sea-Tac Airport are now permitted to offer on-premises service at 25% of capacity.
        Continental drift   Europe flight levels yesterday were 33% of 2019, according to Eurocontrol. It had been as high as 50% last summer.

Coronavirus Update for February 2, 2021

The United States hit a milestone last evening: More people now have been vaccinated with at least one dose of a Coronavirus vaccine than have tested positive for Covid. About 33 million doses have been administered. Here are today's other developments:
        Cases and deaths   There were 134,339 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Monday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 2,031.
        Not just another manic Monday   The TSA says that 628,989 people passed through airport checkpoints on Monday. That's 30.6% of 2020 volume, the lowest figure on a Monday this year.
        Oh, yeah, snow ...   The winter storm that moved across the nation over the weekend reached the Northeast yesterday--and it would have been a slaughter if, you know, anyone had been traveling. Nevertheless, 1,701 flights were cancelled nationwide, according to FlightAware. That includes about 90% of flights at New York/LaGuardia and 70% at both Newark and New York/JFK.
        Swiss International   is operating just 10% of its pre-pandemic schedule in February.
        Delta Air Lines   says it now has banned 950 people because they have refused to comply with the carrier's mask policies.
        Asia on its knees   Only 69 million people traveled on Asia-Pacific airlines in 2020, 18% of 2019 volume. Airline seat capacity was just 19% of 2019 levels. The figures were released by the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines.
        Austria   has loosened some lockdown rules. The 24-hour stay-at-home order has been reduced to 8pm to 6am. Some non-essential retail shops and attractions may reopen. The new rules are effective on February 8.

Coronavirus Update for February 1, 2021

January recorded the most Coronavirus deaths (95,211) of any month, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That's nearly 20,000 more than in December. Here are today's other developments:
        Remember the weekend   There were 111,896 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Sunday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,794. Remember weekend statistics are fragmentary and incomplete.
        Lost decade?   The TSA filled out January figures with Saturday (37.2% of 2020 volume) and Sunday (44.1%) data. For the month, about 23.6 million people traveled. That's 38.1% of 2020 volume, just 50 basis points better than December, which was 50 basic points better than November. If that half-point a month rebound continues, it'll take about a decade to get back to 2019 volume. That won't happen since travel is likely to soar as more travelers get vaccines.
        Boston   said gyms, movie theaters, museums and other customer-facing businesses can reopen effective today. The capacity is capped at 25%.
        Euroslump   There was an average of 8,747 flights in Europe's skies last week. Eurocontrol says that is 34.4% of 2019 flight volume.
        Israel   decided late last evening local time to continue the nationwide lockdown until 7am Friday. Ben Gurion Airport, the country's primary airport, will remain closed to commercial flights until Sunday.
        Portugal   yesterday began a two-week ban on foreign travel. Portugal is currently the global epicenter of the latest outbreak.

Coronavirus Update for January 31, 2021

The University of Connecticut’s health system has canceled COVID-19 vaccination appointments scheduled for February 1-8. The system said its weekly vaccine allocation has being lowered due to supply shortages. No new appointments for first shots of the vaccine are being accepted. Here are today's other developments:
        Half the misery (sorta)   There were 142,091 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 2,731. The new-case statistic is less than half the record of 300,282 on January 2. Sadly, the death toll record (4,466 on January 12) hasn't been halved.
        No-fly zone   Business travel is running at about 5-10% of normal levels, according to American Airlines.
        Less than half a loaf   Flights departing Europe were down 55% in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Eurocontrol, the agency that handles the continent's air traffic control system.
        Let's try this again   Indoor dining will return in New York City on February 14, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. A capacity cap of 25% will be imposed, however. Indoor dining was suspended again in December after returning in late September.
        Florida men   The Republican mayor of Miami is attacking the GOP governor of Florida over who gets to impose Coronavirus-reduction measures. Florida, the third most populous state, has the fourth highest Covid death toll, trailing Texas, California and New York. has the details.

Coronavirus Update for January 30, 2021

California, Arizona and South Carolina are the worst states of Coronavirus transmission, according to weekly statistics compiled by the CDC. Here are the details. Here are today's other developments:
        The high plateau   There were 166,113 new Coronavirus cases in the United States yesterday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 3,604. It's clear now that new cases have plateaued, but at about eight times the 20,000-case mark that scientists would have preferred.
        Not-freaky Fridays   The TSA says 774,688 people passed through airport checkpoints Friday. That represents 35.8% of 2020 volume, almost identical to Thursday. The five Fridays in January were remarkably consistent with daily volume in a narrow range from 34.8 to 38.5%.
        Mask up   The CDC late last night issued its mask rules on public transportation. They basically call for a mask in any public conveyance and at any public terminal, airport or other waiting areas. The CDC explainer is here. The PDF of the rule is here. The Washington Post offers a deep dive here.
        Canada closure   As explained in Friday's newsletter, Canadian regulators dropped a hammer on travel. In essence, it requires airlines to drop flights to "sun" destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America until April 30; imposes a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone flying into the country and permits exceptions only for people who've tested negative after three days; limits international flights to a handful of airports; and will soon require negative tests for travelers arriving at U.S. land crossings. Here's what Transport Canada says and here is an explainer by Toronto's Globe and Mail.
        Aperto   The Vatican Museums reopen on Monday. So do most museums in Rome.
        Fermé   French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Friday that the country would close its land borders to non-European Union countries. Only essential travel will be allowed.
        Bleib weg   Germany has announced entry restrictions for travelers from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, Portugal and South Africa.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 23-29

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. Click here for the week's updates.

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.