Coronavirus Special Report
March 6-March 12, 2021
Read all about it! More than 522,000 525,000 530,000 532,000 Americans have died from the virus. It's been a year since the outbreak was officially declared a pandemic. States continue to reopen businesses and dining venues, but many European countries move back to lockdown. March flying in the United States ticks up. The CDC says fully vaccinated people can mingle more freely--but shouldn't travel. And more. Read from the bottom for context.

Coronavirus Update: Friday, March 12, 2021

President Biden said last night that all adult Americans will be eligible for the Covid vaccine by May 1. How long it takes to get shots in arms remains the question, however. Here are today's developments:
        Six of one   The TSA says 1,284,271 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Thursday. That's the sixth time this month that traffic has been above one million. We're also getting close to the tipping point when current flying will pass last year's volume. On Thursday, for example, we reached 75.4% of 2020's volume.
        Progress, really   There were 49,356 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Thursday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,557. For comparison purposes, the daily new-case total is one sixth of the high reached in early January. The death toll is about a third of its pandemic high, also in early January.
        Start spreading the news   Visitors to New York from non-contiguous states won't be required to quarantine beginning April 1.
        Devil's bargain   The Duke Blue Devils pulled out of the ACC basketball tournament and won't play in the NCAA March Madness tournament that starts next week. A player contracted Coronavirus. Meanwhile, an ACC playoff game today between the University of Virginia and Georgia Tech also was cancelled.
        Don't tell Commodore Perry   Japan Airlines and ANA have stopped accepting reservations for flights from Britain, Germany and France. The carriers will maintain the suspension for at least two weeks.
        Lonely London   Hotel occupancy in London in February was just 23.3%, according to industry statisticians STR.

Coronavirus Update: Thursday, March 11, 2021

It's understandable why many people mark today as the first anniversary of all things pandemic. As you can see by the Travel Newsstand for March 11, 2020, it was the day President Trump issued the botched Europe flight ban, the NBA suspended its season--and the WHO officially declared a pandemic. Here are today's developments:
        Here we go   The TSA says 955,177 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Wednesday. That represents 59.1% of 2020 volume and 45% of 2019 volume. The 2020 volume numbers fall quickly now as travelers stay home due to the double-barreled pandemic declaration and the flight bans.
        Almost 10   There were 58,611 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Wednesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,564. Nearly 10% of the nation is now fully vaccinated.
        Eat it up   New Jersey and New York City restaurants will be permitted to serve indoors at 50% of capacity starting on March 19. It was previously announced that the rest of New York State can open restaurants to 75% of capacity on that day.
        Vaccine pause   Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Italy stopped distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine after serious side effects and several deaths. The problems mostly seem to be traceable to a single batch. This version of the vaccine has not yet been approved in the United States.
        Sketches of Spain   Spanish tourist officials have banned most travel through Easter, but they say vaccinated travelers and those with a negative PCR test could be welcome as soon as mid-May.
        They're still at it   The French and Brits continue to spar over, well, anything and everything. The latest front: travel between the two countries. France has now joined the Netherlands in lifting restrictions on British visitors.

Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Don't get lost in the flying stats: On March 8, 2020, traffic surpassed 2 million people passing through TSA checkpoints. No day since has registered as many. Last year, traffic fell from that 2 million plateau to fewer than 90,000 on April 14. Keep 2020's progressive collapse in mind as you read daily statistics. Here are today's other developments:
        Tuesday trip   The TSA says 823,210 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Tuesday. That represents 43.1% of 2020 volume and 34.6% of 2019 volume.
        Back to the plateau   There were 57,417 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Tuesday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,947. While vaccines are picking up rapidly now, CDC and other health experts worry that the new-case number remains too high for a sustained recovery. And the death toll is always appalling.
        Northern exposure   Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced late yesterday that anyone in the state who is at least 16 years old is eligible for a Coronavirus vaccine. Alaska is the first state to open vaccinations to all residents without restriction.
        You won't be turning Japanese   Kyoto News Service reports that Tokyo Olympics officials will announce that no spectators from outside the country will be permitted to attend the games this summer.
        Capacity check   There were 57.1 million airline seats available worldwide during the week ended March 7. That's just shy of 54% of global capacity available during the same period in 2019. The analysis comes from Routes Online.
        Get me to the Greek   Greek tourism officials said at an industry trade show in Berlin this week that they hope to open Greece to tourists again by early May. Fully vaccinated visitors and those who can present a negative PCR test will be welcome.

Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Noted: More Americans have now been fully vaccinated (31.2 million) than have been infected with the Coronavirus (29 million), according to Johns Hopkins. Here are today's other developments:
        March's millions   The TSA says that 1,117,939 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Monday. That's the fifth day this month traffic passed one million and represents 52.7% of 2020 volume and 45% of 2019 volume.
        Encouraging   There were 44,758 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Monday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 719.
        Alligator food   A JetBlue Airways flight from New York/Kennedy to Cancun diverted to Fort Lauderdale last Saturday when a man refusing to wear a mask caused a commotion. Passengers were outraged by the 90-minute diversion and rained abuse down on the arrested man. "I hope you get eaten by an alligator!" one yelled. The Miami Herald has the details.
        The Bulgarian version  An Air France flight from Paris to New Delhi last Friday made an unscheduled stop in Sofia, Bulgaria, to offload a quarrelsome passenger. The Hindu has the details.
        Italy   is launching Covid-free trains between Rome and Milan beginning next month. The trains will be operated by FS, the state railroad. Alitalia last year launched Covid-free flights between Rome and Milan.

Coronavirus Update: Monday, March 8, 2021

The CDC has released guidance on what fully vaccinated people can do to expand social interactions. It's mostly good news. The specifics are detailed at the CDC site. Here are today's other developments:
        March is roaring   The TSA says that 1,277,719 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Sunday. That is the most travelers since January 3 as travelers were returning from Christmas and New Year's trips. It also represents a startling 69.3% of 2020 volume--but, remember, traffic was plunging last year at this point. However, it also represents a hefty 59.3% of 2019 volume.
        Lowball   There were 40,340 new Coronavirus cases in the United States on Sunday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 669. But the reminder: Weekend numbers are fragmentary and incomplete.
        New York State   restaurants can serve indoors up to 75% of capacity starting March 19. That's up from 50% now. In New York City, however, the indoor capacity cap remains at 35%.
        Hawaii update   Only 359,000 of 1.5 million available room nights were occupied in January, says the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Hawaii has had the strictest entry requirements of any state.
        Europe skies   For the ninth week of the year, aircraft traffic was down 65% compared to 2019, according to Eurocontrol, which handles the continent's air traffic control.

Coronavirus Update: Sunday, March 7, 2021

This can't be good news: The world is on the brink of a fourth wave of Coronavirus infections. The Hill has details. Meanwhile, the United States is now above 9% of the population that is fully vaccinated. Here are today's other developments:
        Is business travel in charge again?   The TSA says 991,547 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints Saturday. That's 45.1% of 2020 volume and 38.9% of 2019's volume. Saturday is beginning to slow down in recent weeks while Thursdays and Fridays have been stronger. It could indicate business travel is beginning to reassert itself. Stay tuned.
        Weekend breather   There were 58,062 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Saturday, says Johns Hopkins. The death toll: 1,485. And the reminder: Weekend numbers are fragmentary and incomplete. Proceed with caution.
        Silicon Valley stunner   The Fairmont Silicon Valley abruptly closed late Friday and moved remaining guests to other hotels. The San Jose property, with more than 800 rooms, was averaging just 7% occupancy, a spokesman for the hotel said. He said the hotel lost $18 million last year and is on track for a $20 million loss this year. The hotel filed for bankruptcy, but hopes to reopen in several months with new management and a new brand flag.
        Italy retreats   The Italian Health Ministry has moved Campagnia and its largest city, Naples, into the red zone, the highest category of restrictions. Two other regions, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Gulia, moved to orange, the second-highest category. In red and orange regions, restaurants and bars are closed except for takeaway and delivery. Schools close in red zones. Shops can remain open in orange zones, but malls must close on holidays.
        India update   The owner of Taj Hotels, India's leading lodging brand, says that leisure travel accounts for 60% of business, but business, corporate and government travel is growing and may soon reach 50-55% of bookings.

Coronavirus Update: Saturday, March 6, 2021

After a wild vote-a-rama--and a long delay yesterday to satisfy Joe Manchin of West Virginia--Senate Democrats passed the $1.9 trillion Biden stimulus package. It was a party-line vote of 50-49. The bill now goes back to the House for final approval. Here are today's other developments:
        Numbers games   The TSA says that 1,167,551 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Friday. That is more than on Thursday, but a lower percentage (54.8%) of 2020 volume and sharply lower (48.5%) compared to 2019's volume of 2.4 million.
        Still on the high Covid plateau   There were 67,397 new Coronavirus cases in the United States Friday, says Johns Hopkins. That's about where we've been for a week now. But the death toll (2,520) was higher than Thursday.
        Pick your politics   An editor at the screechy right-wing New York Post is shocked--shocked!--to learn the left-wing Biden Administration allows privately owned United Airlines to pack its planes and fill middle seats. The conservative cry for nanny-state protection is here.
        California inches forward   California will permit theme parks and sports stadiums to reopen at 15-35% of capacity. Parks can reopen April 1, but only to California residents. Indoor dining will not be permitted and there will be strict limits on indoor rides.
        West Virginia   has lifted capacity limits on bars, restaurants, grocery and retail stores and other small businesses. Governor Jim Justice says the state's mask mandate remains in force, however.
        The Garden Isle grows   Kauai will rejoin Hawaii's Safe Travels program on April 5. That will make it easier for out-of-state travelers to visit the so-called Garden Isle. KHON2 has the details.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 27-March 5

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 woes led to a surge in hotel occupancy. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

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.