Coronavirus Special Report
February 27-March 5, 2021
Read all about it! More than 510,000 515,000 520,000 522,000 Americans have died from Coronavirus. Europe is locking down again but U.S. states rush to shed their mask mandates and other restrictions. February flying traffic roars to a close and early March looks good by comparison. Texas' weather troubles led to a surge in hotel occupancy. And more. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update: Friday, March 5, 2021

The first U.S. jobs report of the Biden Presidency was released today and looks good. Meanwhile, it's vote-a-rama day in the Senate as it weighs the $1.9 trillion Biden stimulus package. Here are today's other developments:
        Looking good by comparison   The TSA says that 1,106,265 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Thursday. That is an eye-popping 58.9% of 2020 volume as last year's traffic plunged in the early days of the pandemic. But it is also 51.6% of 2019 volume, a not-insignificant number.
        On the high Covid plateau   There were 67,164 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Thursday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,903. That's about where we've been for a week now.
        More empty rooms   Nationwide hotel occupancy in the United States fell to slightly 47.5% for the week ended February 27. That is lower than the previous week and off 25.8% compared to a similar week last year.
        Go, Canada!   The Canadian government today approved the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. CBC News has the details.
        The Alabama way   Alabama Governor Kay Ivey says she would extend the state's mask mandate until April and then allow it to expire. That's more measured than the moves in Texas and Mississippi to immediately remove their mask rules.
        The Connecticut way   Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said Thursday that he will begin to lift coronavirus capacity limits starting on March 19. Restaurants and bars are among businesses that will be permitted to serve to full capacity on that date.
        Shop, don't ride   Universal Studios Hollywood plans to reopen on weekends starting March 12. The theme park will host a food and shopping event. Guests will be able to roam the 415-acre grounds, but the rides will not operate. The Los Angeles Times has the details.
        Portugal's problems   Hotels in Portugal lost 73% of their revenue in 2020 compared to 2019, according to the Portuguese Hotel Association. Most hoteliers say they don't expect business to return to 2019 levels until 2023 or later.

Coronavirus Update: Thursday, March 4, 2021

At least four major retail chains--Kroger, Target, Walgreens and Aldi--have publicly affirmed that they will continue to require masks in their stores. They were reacting to moves by states such as Texas and Mississippi to end their mask mandates. Flying, of course, is controlled by federal rules. Hotel chains almost universally continue to require masks. Here are today's other developments:
        The road--and flights--not taken   The TSA says 782,727 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Wednesday. That's a hefty 45.1% of 2020 volume, but only and 39.5% of 2019 volume. Traffic in 2020 began falling swiftly as the nation headed to its first lockdown in mid-March.
        Split view   There were 65,909 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Wednesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 2,468. Consider the split. The new-case load over the last seven days (450,895) is about 26% of the record high, recorded January 3-9. But the seven-day death toll (12,846) is nearly 55% of the record high (23,655), recorded January 10-16.
        Welcome, sorta   New York State will now allow vaccinated domestic travelers to enter without a quarantine. The catch: You must have been vaccinated within 90 days of arrival. International arrivals are still subject to CDC rules.
        State of the glass   Airline traffic nationwide was 43% of 2019 levels during the week of February 11-17. Airlines operated 58% of their flights during the week using 84% of fleets. Statistics were compiled by
        The Red turns red   Italy's Bologna Province (often called The Red for its left-leaning politics) has been declared a genuine red zone, which means another complete lockdown.
        Saudade   Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and richest community, has gone into lockdown just days after Brasilia, the capital region, did the same. Starting Saturday, bars and restaurants will close except for takeaway service. Non-essential retail must close. Wednesday was the worst day for Covid deaths in Brazil since the pandemic began.
        Germany   will loosen some social-gathering regulations on Monday, but the general lockdown has been extended to March 28

Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, March 3, 2021

President Biden said yesterday afternoon that there will be enough vaccines manufactured for all adult Americans by the end of May. He didn't say how much longer it would take to ensure every adult who wants a vaccine would be able to get it. Meanwhile, Johns Hopkins says 8% of Americans are now fully vaccinated. Here are today's other developments:
        Here comes the bust   The TSA says 743,134 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Tuesday. That is 35.6% of 2020 volume and 32.9% of 2019 volume. Reminder: From this point on, no day in 2020 had more flying traffic than in 2019.
        Fewer cases, more deaths  There were 56,780 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Tuesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,924. New cases seem to have plateaued, but deaths continue to rise.
        Mississippi mud   Just hours after Texas removed its mask mandate and other restrictions, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves says the state's Covid restrictions are lifted beginning today. Both states have rising caseloads and deaths.
        Not the Atchison, Topeka or the Santa Fe   The New Mexico Rail Runner Express resumes passenger service on Monday. The train that connects Santa Fe and other points in the state will call at fewer stations and not run on weekends.
        Not glittering and not gold   Chinese New Year traffic during China's so-called Golden Week (February 11-17) was down 69.3% compared to the similar period in 2019.
        It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a virtual convention ...   July's San Diego Comic-Con, which often brings more than 100,000 people to the city, will be virtual again this year. An in-person event may be scheduled for November.
        Gimme, gimme, gimme   The head of the ridiculously named U.S. airline trade group says that U.S. carriers are still losing $150 million a day. He made the claim in a Congressional hearing.

Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The New Orleans Archdiocese warns Roman Catholics to avoid the "morally compromised" Johnson & Johnson vaccine because it was developed with material the church finds offensive. The Washington Post covers the controversy. Here are today's other developments:
        March roars in   The TSA says 1,047,418 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Monday. That is 45.9% of 2020 volume and 45.5% of 2019 volume. March 1 is when traffic began to fall precipitously in the United States last year as the virus and lockdowns took hold.
        Better, but ...  There were 58,812 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Monday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 1,566. That's improving, but the experts worry about rapid state reopenings and fast-spreading variants.
        Remember the Alamo--or something  Texas Governor Greg Abbott rescinded the state's mask mandate and said all businesses can open at 100% of capacity. Because Texas didn't learn its lesson last year and it's important to own the libs or something ...
        Finland   has declared a state of emergency due to spiking Coronavirus numbers caused by new variants. Restaurants must close for the next three weeks. Schools are also being closed and most travel is restricted.
        Deniers be damned   Brasilia, capital of Brazil and its third-largest city, has gone into lockdown for all but emergency services. "The lockdown will start today and be total, it will be 24-hours a day," said a press aide for the federal district's Governor Ibaneis Rocha. That elicited a furious response from Jair Bolsonaro, the country's Covid-denying president. More than 250,000 have died from Coronavirus so far.
        Speaking of deniers ...   South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem received a rapturous reception at the CPAC Conference last weekend in Orlando, Florida. She criticized Dr. Anthony Fauci--he "wrong a lot"--and touted her laissez-faire handling of the virus. The facts are something else again, of course. As of Tuesday afternoon, there have been at least 112,652 cases and 1,888 deaths in South Dakota since the beginning of the pandemic, according to The New York Times database. On a per capita basis, it's one of the worst performances in the nation.

Coronavirus Update: Monday, March 1, 2021

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on NBC yesterday basically said he had no idea when the land border between the United States and Canada would reopen. "I think there's an awful lot of different metrics we need to look at,” he said. Here are today's other developments:
        Out with a bang   The TSA says 1,190,682 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Sunday. That is 50.6% of 2020 volume. It was the seventh day above a million flyers in February. For the month, 24,446,345 travelers passed through airports. That's 40.5% of 2020 volume, 2.4% better than January's volume compared to January, 2020. It's also the best performance since the mid-April depths.
        Weekend respite II   There were 51,204 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Sunday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,097. Reminder: Weekend statistics are usually incomplete and fragmentary.
        Massachusetts  is relaxing Coronavirus restrictions today. Restaurants will no longer be bound by capacity limits. Indoor performance venues and recreational facilities can reopen at 50% of capacity.
        Oslo   is tightening restrictions effective tomorrow. Restaurants and bars must close except for takeaway business. Grocery stores, pharmacies and liquor stores may remain open, but all other retail businesses much close.
        Sardinia   is Italy's first "white zone" region, which means virtually no Coronavirus restrictions. However, two other regions, Basilicata and Molise, have moved to a "red zone," which means the most severe restrictions.

Coronavirus Update: Sunday, February 28, 2021

The FDA yesterday issued an emergency use authorization for the Johnson & Jonson vaccine, the third approved to fight the Coronavirus. J&J, a one-shot vaccine, says it can deliver 20 million doses by the end of March. Here are today's other developments:
        Weekend respite   There were 68,071 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Saturday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,536. Reminder: Although the numbers are in line with recent declines, weekend statistics are usually incomplete and fragmentary.
        Saturday slowdown   The TSA says 917,282 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Saturday. That is 47% of 2020 volume, slightly below last Saturday's performance.
        Hyatt hit   The Hyatt Regency Orlando this week has hosted CPAC, a one-time conservative conference that now mostly exists to deify Trump. (There's even a golden idol of him on display.) The hotel, and the entire chain, is under pressure for hosting the event, which also has widely flouted the Hyatt nationwide mask mandate. has the details.
        Auckland   went back into lockdown over the weekend. The largest city in New Zealand, which has successfully battled Coronavirus, has locked down whenever a few cases are confirmed. Agence France-Presse has the details.

Coronavirus Update: Saturday, February 27, 2021

The House early this morning approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion Coronavirus bill. It now goes to the Senate, which will strip the $15 minimum wage and send it back to the House for final approval. All this is being done only with Democratic support. Here are today's other developments:
        Weekend slowdown   There were 73,006 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Friday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll was 2,151. Those numbers are down a bit from Thursday.
        Another million people II   The TSA says that 1,096,348 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Friday. That is 44.9% of 2020 volume, slightly better than Thursday.
        Texas tales   With power and water out and cold weather gripping the state, Texans sought the warmth and comfort of hotels. Average nightly occupancy around the state jumped to a 50-week high at 56.3%. Room demand, the number of hotel rooms sold, grew by 331,044 across Texas, the most of any state during the week. Statistics were compiled by industry recordkeepers STR.
        The reckoning   The Transportation Department says U.S. airlines operated 4,721,342 flights in 2020 compared to 7,938,055 flights in 2019. That's just shy of 60% for the year 2020.
        Sweden   has famously relied on voluntary measures to control Coronavirus, but new cases are surging. As a result, restaurants and cafés that don't serve alcohol will have to close at 8:30pm. Dining rooms in shopping malls can only do takeaway business. There also will be a limit on the number of people allowed in shops and gyms. The new measures take effect on Monday, March 1.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 20-26

Read all about it! More than 495,000 500,000 505,000 510,000 Americans have died from Coronavirus and new-case numbers are edging up again. Travel-industry numbers for 2020 were brutal and the first quarter looks even weaker. Italy marks a year after it became the Western epicenter of the disease. Boeing 777s powered by Pratt & Whitney 4000 engines grounded worldwide after Denver incident. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 13-19

Read all about it! More than 476,000 480,000 485,000 490,000 495,000 Americans have died, but the new-case number is slowly falling. There was a Valentine's Day/President's Day boomlet in flying. The government backs off plans to demand negative tests for domestic flights. Nasty winter storms snarl flying nationwide and basically ground Texas. Travel industry financial numbers remain startlingly bad. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 5-12

Read all about it! More than 452,000 455,000 460,000 465,000 465,000 475,000 Americans have died. The TSA sets fines for violating federal transportation mask mandates, but the states are again fighting over masking rules. Travel is in its February funk as the economic recovery stalls. There's little hope for an immediate rebound, either. Global hotel occupancy rates are atrocious. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for Jan. 30-Feb. 4

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 Coronavirus 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. Click here for the week's updates.

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.