Coronavirus Special Report
Year Three: January 22-28, 2022
Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 878,000. The national vaccination stalls around 64%. U.S. flying in January plummets. European nations begin lifting or loosening Covid rules. Asia travel all but disappeared last year. Worldwide airline traffic in 2021 was just 42% of 2019 levels. Four of the ten largest European airlines are operating at or below 50% of 2019 capacity. Major routes between Europe and the United States have as many as 44% fewer flights than in 2019. The United States and China continue war over seat capacity. Hong Kong cuts arrival quarantines to 14 days. Rio delays its Carnival parades. And more.

Coronavirus Update: Friday, January 28, 2022

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was isolating at home yesterday after being exposed to Covid. The Globe and Mail has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Slow roll   The TSA says that 1,555,773 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That is 74.6% of volume on a similar day in 2020 and best Thursday performance in January.
        Better ... relatively   Effective February 5, the few travelers allowed to fly into Hong Kong will face a 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrival. That's down from 21 days. Agence France-Presse has details.
        Northern exposure   Alaska Airlines says the Omicron variant has cost the carrier about $160 million in lost bookings so far in 2022.
        Action in the North Atlantic   London/Heathrow-New York/JFK remains the busiest long-haul route to/from Europe, according to Eurocontrol, the continent's air traffic control agency. But traffic between the two airports averages just 25 flights a day, down 28% from 2019. Paris/CDG-JFK now averages 12 daily flights, down a more modest 4%. A much bigger loser? Heathrow-LAX with nine average daily flights, down 44% from 2019. Best route? Frankfurt-Chicago/O'Hare with an average of eight daily flights, down only 2%.

Coronavirus Update: Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Boston hospital refused a heart transplant to a 31-year-old patient who refused Covid vaccines. The patient's father explained that vaccines are "kind of against his basic principles." If you can follow that logic, good on you. Agence France-Presse has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Back to the future   The TSA says that 1,198,339 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That is just 59.6% of volume on a similar day in 2019. We had reached the mid-to-upper 80s before the Omicron variant hit.
        Asia abandoned   Flying in the Asia Pacific region has basically disappeared. In 2021, just 16.7 million passengers flew on carriers aligned to the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines. That's just 4.4% of 2019 pre-pandemic volume. Meanwhile, airlines shrunk their combined capacity to only 13.8% of its 2019 levels.
        1Q blues   JetBlue Airways says the Omicron variant has dragged estimates of its first-quarter capacity down by five points. It now expects 1Q flying at -1% to +2% of 2019 levels.
        Navy notes   The U.S. Navy has dismissed another 23 active-duty sailors for refusing a Covid vaccine. TheHill.com has details.

Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

New York State's reimposed mask mandate was overturned this week by a local judge who said the governor did not have the power to impose it. A higher court has stayed that ruling while the issue is adjudicated. Bottom line? The mask mandate stays in place for now. The New York Times has details. Here are today's other developments:
        April in TSAland   The TSA says that 1,059,741 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That is lowest one-day total since April 27, 2021, according to the agency.
        A fine mess   Portugal has fined more than 2,500 passengers in the last two months for flying into the country without providing a negative Coronavirus test. Airlines were also fined for boarding the flyers. SchengenVisaInfo.com has details.
        "Dumpster fire"   U.S. hospitals are overrun with Omicron patients. One health care executive called it a "dumpster fire." Bloomberg has details.
        Cathay catastrophe   Some observers think that China is trying to destroy Cathay Pacific, the mostly private carrier that serves as Hong Kong's flag carrier. If that's the plan, it's going swimmingly. Cathay carried 717,059 passengers in 2021, just 2% of its 2019 performance. In December, it carried 92,219 passengers, about 3% of its volume in December, 2019. The airline projects a 2021 loss of as much as US$780 million.
        Bubbly   The Champagne industry came roaring back in 2021 after a horrendous 2020 sales year caused by the pandemic. WineIndustryAdvisor.com has details.
        Grecian formula   Passenger traffic in Greece increased by about 80% in December, but still remains down about 55% compared to pre-pandemic levels, according to the country's Civil Aviation Authority.

Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

It has come to this. Maneskin, the Italian winners of the Eurovision song contest, has cancelled most of its first post-victory European tour. ANSA, the Italian news agency, has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Slip-sliding away   The TSA says that 1,397,281 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That is nearly double the number registered on a similar day in 2021, but just 68% of the volume of a similar January day in 2019.
        Less than a glass half full   IATA, the global airline industry trade group, says worldwide passenger traffic in 2021 was 42% of volume in 2019, the last pre-pandemic year.
        Not so icy   Norway says it is ending its mandatory quarantine of unvaccinated travelers. A new testing regimen will replace the quarantine. Reuters has details.
        Austria, too   Austria says it is ending its lockdowns of unvaccinated citizens. The policy ends on January 31 after two months. TheLocal.com has details.
        Relax and enjoy   The EU has relaxed travel restrictions for vaccinated individuals traveling around EU member states. But since EU policy is strictly advisory, each nation continues to make its own rules. The New York Times has details.

Coronavirus Update: Monday, January 24, 2022

After banning the popular street parties, Rio de Janeiro has now delayed the main Carnival events. The parade is now scheduled for April 21 instead of the days leading up to Ash Wednesday. NBC News has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Another 100,000 people   About 4.4 million people passed through TSA security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the weekend (Friday-Sunday). That's around 100,000 fewer flyers than the previous weekend, which itself was 100,000 fewer than the first weekend of the year.
        Disturbing and deadly II   There were 4,770,122 new Coronavirus cases in the United States during the last week, according to Johns Hopkins. That's down from last week. But the death toll was 14,231, up again from the previous week.
        The Omicron tumble II   Eurocontrol says the 7-day average of aircraft traffic was 64.9% of 2019 levels. That's 5 points lower than last week and represents an average daily decline of 457 flights.
        Testing terminated   Effective February 11, England is dropping all entry testing requirements for properly vaccinated travelers. Arrivals will only need to complete a Passenger Locator Form. Details are here.
        Ireland smiles   Ireland has lifted most of its Coronavirus restrictions. Closing times for pubs, bars and restaurants return to normal. Covid pass restrictions are lifted. IrishCentral.com has details.
        Stockton stopped   NBA great John Stockton, the best player ever to come out of Gonzaga, has lost his season tickets to the university's games. The reason? His refusal to wear a mask in the stands and his truly bizarre beliefs about the pandemic. The Spokane Spokesman-Review has the disturbing details.

Coronavirus Update: Weekend, January 22-23, 2022

China continues to pursue a "Covid zero" strategy. It has led to some very unusual situations. The New York Times has details. Here are this weekend's other developments.
        Samoa shutdown   The Pacific island nation of Samoa entered a 48-hour lockdown Saturday (local time) after Coronavirus tests came back positive for 15 passengers on a flight from Australia. TheHill.com has details.
        The battle continues   The United States blocked dozens of flights from China-based carriers in the ongoing battle between the two countries and state of airline service. The Washington Post has details.
        Swiss change   Covid rules for entering Switzerland, including testing, have been relaxed. Further items will be reviewed starting February 2. TheLocal.com's Switzerland edition has details.
        France change   France laid out a timeline to loosen the country's Coronavirus restrictions. "This exceptional wave is not over, but the situation is starting to evolve more favorably," says Prime Minister Jean Castex. The New York Times details.
        Halfsies   At least four of the 10 largest European airlines are operating at least 50% below their 2019 capacity. Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control, says Lufthansa is down 50%, SAS is down 51%, British Airways is off 54% and EasyJet is down to 39% of its 2019 volume.
        Hotel horror   U.S. national average hotel occupancy fell to 48.8% for the week ended January 15. That is more than 16 points lower than 2019 occupancy.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 15-21

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 860,000. The national vaccination rate hangs below 64%. U.S. flying plunges while winter storm leads to thousands of cancellations over the King Day weekend. Two transatlantic flights return to departure airports after passengers disrupted operations. Europe aircraft traffic is at lowest rate since September and Eurostar passengers fell 85% last year compared to 2019. About 33 million seats disappear from worldwide winter schedules as airlines slash schedules to cope with Omicron. Sweden, Austria and Thailand loosen entry rules. Emirates Airline won't accept proctored antigen tests from U.S.-bound flyers even though they are accepted by the United States for re-entry. Amtrak cuts schedules through March. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 8-14

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 846,000. The national vaccination rate crawls past 63%. U.S. post-holiday flying numbers tumble. American Airlines says it won't fire vaccine holdouts. United says sick calls are extremely high while Delta threatens flight attendants over time off for positive tests. Qantas, Finnair and Virgin Australia slash schedules. Amtrak says fiscal 2022 revenue will be down 20% on pre-pandemic levels. New Orleans reinstates indoor mask mandate, but the Paris outdoor mask rule is overturned. Sweden orders restaurants and bars to close early. Heathrow Airport traffic plunges in December. The United States continues fighting with China over flights and schedules. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 1-7

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 834,000. The national vaccination rate reaches 63%. France clamps down on unvaccinated U.S. visitors while Cyprus demands negative PCR tests of all arrivals. Hong Kong and Macao ban all flights from the United States, Canada and other countries. England and Ireland ease testing rules for entry. Bad weather, Covid absentees and dreadful airline management lead to an end-of-the-year flying disaster that has dragged into this week. Global airline seat capacity was down 35% in 2021. Every cruise ship sailing in U.S. waters has reported Coronavirus cases and the CDC is investigating. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

2021 Daily Coronavirus Updates

The year began with hope and vaccines. It ended with Omicron, new lockdowns and restrictions that foiled plans for a return to the "normal" of travel. You can see everything we posted in bullet-point form, grouped into weekly segments, by clicking 2021's archives.

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.