Coronavirus Special Report
Year Three: Jan. 29 - Feb. 4, 2022
Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 896,000. The national vaccination rate remains below 65%. Denver is ending its mask and vaccine mandates, but New York State extends its mask rules. China's largest airlines may have lost US$7 billion in 2021. Iowa will end all Covid measures and data reporting. The Dominican Republic is now the most visited country in the Caribbean. Scandinavian countries dismantle their Covid restrictions. The U.S. Virgin Islands no longer requires entry tests for vaccinated travelers. New Zealand may welcome visitors from North America as early as the spring. Winter storms play havoc with daily travel. Denver Airport traffic in December was down only 7% compared to 2019. Spain retains, then scraps, its outdoor mask mandate. And more.
Coronavirus Update: Friday, February 4, 2022
The Winter Olympics in Beijing officially opened today and Covid is infecting hundreds of athletes and team officials despite a draconian bubble placed over the events by Chinese officials. The New York Times
. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 1,339,533 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That's just 61.8% of 2020 of volume. The total was depressed by the massive storm grounding flights from Texas to the Canadian border. More than 5,200 flights were dumped yesterday, including around 75% of departures at the Dallas airports and Austin; more than 70% in Cleveland and St. Louis; 52% in Cincinnati; and 41% in Buffalo, New York.
Like a vaccinated virgin
The U.S. Virgin Islands on Wednesday lifted a requirement that visitors present a negative Coronavirus test taken no more than 72 hours ahead of their trip. Visitors can now show either proof of vaccination or a negative test taken five days out. The Associated Press has details
Oh, never mind
Just days after the Spanish Parliament voted to retain the country's outdoor mask mandate, the Spanish government says it'll lift the rule next week. The Local Spain has details
Hotels at half
Average nationwide hotel occupancy for the week ended January 29 was 49.7%, according to lodging statisticians STR. The company also reports that hotels registered 52% of their 2019 profits in 2021.
Iowa is still being hit hard by the Coronavirus, but Governor Kim Reynolds says all statewide rules and regulations concerning the disease will end on February 15. And to make sure no one bothers her with annoying facts, the state will deactivate Web sites used to report Covid infections and deaths. "The flu and infectious illnesses are part of our everyday lives ... Coronavirus can be managed similarly,” Reynolds said in a statement. Iowa's moves are detailed here
Airline enemies list
Delta Air Lines wants the Justice Department to add unruly passengers to the national "no fly" list. The plea came in a letter from Delta CEO Ed Bastian to Attorney General Merrick Garland. NBC News has details
Coronavirus Update: Thursday, February 3, 2022
A scandal is blowing up around a third-party Coronavirus testing operation called Center for Covid Control. The Washington State attorney general is suing the Illinois-based company for a variety of infractions: lying or fudging results; not providing any results at all; and failure to property store test samples. The Seattle Times
on the Washington lawsuit. CNBC has background on other investigations
into the firm, which has testing sites nationwide. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 1,192,973 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That's just 64.7% of 2020 volume. The total was clearly depressed by the nearly 2,400 cancellations nationwide in the face of a storm dumping snow, ice and rain on a huge swath of the country.
Airlines and other travel-industry interest groups are mobilizing to end U.S. rules on testing before entering the country. Their theory: It costs us money and it's annoying--and maybe not so effective. (Although they don't really care about the last part.) TheHill.com has details
The final frontier
New Zealand, which has been among the nations most fiercely locking down to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, has set out a timetable to open its borders. Bottom line: North American visitors may be able to enter the country by spring. The details are here
Time for the "Our House" singalong
There has been no more fractious "super group" over the decades than Crosby, Still & Nash--and occasionally Neil Young. These days, most of them ignore David Crosby, who has said and done awful things to the other members over the years. But CSN has banded together to support Neil Young's decision to pull his music from Spotify. They now want their tunes removed, too. Probably time for that Our House
singalong, huh? Rolling Stone
Sweden has announced it is dropping most Coronavirus rules and entry regulations. Denmark and Norway have already done the same. The Local Sweden has details
Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, February 2, 2022
Today is Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, meaning six more weeks of winter. Thankfully, statistics indicate he's right only 40% of the time. Here are today's other developments:
Three-quarters full II
The TSA says 1,200,580 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That's 75.4% of volume compared to a similar day in 2019, almost the same as Monday.
Sketches of Spain--in masks
The Spanish Parliament on Tuesday night voted to keep the country's mandatory requirement to wear masks in outdoor public spaces.
Norway no longer requires travelers to test upon entry to the country. The change is part of a package of reduced restrictions announced yesterday. The details are here
Masks for thee
Who most frequently breaks the mask mandate at Myrtle Beach airport? The cops, who insisted no one cared (we do) and that they were exempt from the federal rule (they aren't). The Myrtle Beach Sun News
Tonga has locked down, just weeks after rescue workers from other countries arrived. Agence France-Press has details
Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin has been sued again over his decision to lift the mask mandate for the state's public schools. Newsmax.com has details
Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, February 1, 2022
Today is the Lunar New Year, celebrated throughout Asia and other parts of the world. In China, it is the linchpin of the 15-day "spring festival," now the largest, busiest travel event in the world. Here are today's other developments:
The TSA says that 1,537,573 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That's 74% of volume compared to a similar day in 2019.
Shorter sketches of Spain
Visitors to Spain who choose an antigen test must get tested within 24 hours before arrival rather than 48 hours. The shorter time frame is effective immediately, Spanish health authorities say.
Mile High results
Denver International Airport handled 58.5 million passengers in 2021, down only 15% from 2019 results. In December, the airport said, traffic was off just 7% compared to 2019. Officials expect the airport to recover to pre-pandemic levels this year.
Denmark is done
Denmark has become the first country in Europe to end its mask mandate and eliminate its health passes. The last rule: testing requirements remain for unvaccinated visitors entering the country. Agence France-Presse has details
A pandemic win
The Dominican Republic is not only surpassing its own pre-pandemic visitor totals, it is now the most visited nation in the Caribbean. The New York Times
Aircraft traffic in European skies for the week ended January 30 was just 63.2% of 2019 levels, according to Eurocontrol, the continent's air traffic operation. The average of about 16,000 daily flights also was down 2.8% compared to the previous week.
Coronavirus Update: Monday, January 31, 2022
Spotify has responded to musicians such as Neil Young pulling their music from the platform with a promise to add content warnings. Joe Rogan, who ignited the controversy, promises to do better. NBC News has details
. Here are today's other developments:
Average, with a quirk
About 4.4 million people passed through TSA security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the weekend (Friday-Sunday). That's on par with other January weekends, but travel plunged to just one million passengers on Saturday, when thousands of flights were cancelled in the East Coast snow hurricane.
Plunge and a surge
There were 3,451,287 new Coronavirus cases in the United States during the last week, according to Johns Hopkins. That's down sharply from the previous week. But the death toll was 16,636, up again from the previous two weeks.
We shall return ...
The Philippines says that it will reopen to tourism from the United States, Canada and about 150 other nations beginning February 10. CNN has details
Haven't we done this already?
Australian Prime Minister Keith Morrison says Kanye West will not be permitted into the country to perform if he is not vaccinated. The Guardian
T-Mobile will terminate employees who aren't fully vaccinated. They'll be put on unpaid leave starting February 21 if they've had only one shot. They'll be terminated by April 2 if they are not fully vaccinated. TheVerge.com has details
Lots of yuan
Chinese carriers are on track to lose US$7 billion in 2021. AirlineWeekly.com has details
Mile High mitigation
Denver will lift many of its indoor mask and Covid vaccine mandates later this week. TheHill.com has details
Coronavirus Update: Weekend, January 29-30, 2022
A protest against Canada's rule that returning cross-border truckers be vaccinated has morphed into a general protest against the country's aggressive anti-Covid policies. The demonstration is disrupting the capital of Ottawa. The CBC has details
. Here are this weekend's other developments.
New York State of mask
New York State's mask mandate is being litigated in the courts, but Governor Kathy Hochul has extended it until February 10. ThePatch.com has details
Average U.S. hotel occupancy for the week ended January 22 was 48.7%, down about 16 points from a similar week in 2019. The occupancy rate is also flat compared to the previous week, according to lodging statisticians STR.
Over his dead body ... apparently
A North Carolina man has passed on a life-saving kidney transplant because the hospital requires vaccinations. WRAL-TV had the earliest report
. A follow-up in The Washington Post
adds distressing details
The best of both worlds
Kid Rock says he won't perform at venues that require attendees to be vaccinated. Seems like the best of both worlds: a vaxxed crowd and no Kid Rock. Agence France-Presse has details
Elections have consequences department
The new attorney general of Virginia says state colleges cannot impose a vaccine mandate on students. TheHill.com has details
CDC card scam
Two nurses are accused of collecting more than $1.5 million by selling forged Coronavirus vaccination cards. The New York Times
He really owned the libs
A Washington State Trooper fired after he refused to get vaccinated has died ... from Covid. Robert LeMay shot to national prominence thanks to a viral video that featured him telling Governor Jay Inslee to "kiss his ass." The Independent
Daily Coronavirus Updates for January 22-28
Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 878,000. National vaccination rate 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 passenger 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. Click here
for the week's updates.
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