Coronavirus Special Report
Year Three: Feb. 12-18, 2022
Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 931,000 as the national vaccination rate crawls above 65%. Washington ends proof-of-vaccine requirement for most businesses. Business travel flying continues to lag leisure numbers, according to TSA statistics. France ends entry-testing requirement for fully vaccinated visitors. Flight volume between the major U.S. gateways and London/Heathrow remains down sharply. Two major cruise lines and Disneyland dropping mask mandates. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands slowly lift national Covid restrictions while Switzerland ends all entry requirements. Canada says it will accept some antigen tests to enter the country. Hawaii is the last state to maintain all of its mask mandates. Two years into the pandemic, Cathay Pacific is carrying fewer than 800 passengers a day and Hong Kong is turning hotel rooms into hospital space. And more.

Coronavirus Update: Friday, February 18, 2022

The Canada update in brief: Ottawa police and other authorities are now moving to end the anti-vax protest that has paralyzed parts of the capital for more than three weeks. At least three leaders of the so-called Freedom Convoy already have been arrested (Details here.) And, of course, some organizers are known grifters and fraudsters. (Details here.) Here are today's other developments:
        Boom!   The TSA says that 1,977,756 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday. That's the busiest day at U.S. airports since January 2. Thursday, of course, is normally a busy day and yesterday was also start of the President's Day weekend.
        Well, that's not good ...   U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced on Twitter today that he has tested positive for Covid-19, days after his 4-year-old daughter contracted the virus.
        Hawaii alone   Now that New Mexico and Washington State have both loosened or announced the end of mask mandates, Hawaii is the only state that has retained all of its masking rules. The New York Times has details.
        Cathay catastrophe   Cathay Pacific Airways flew just 24,699 passengers in January. That is only 797 passengers a day--or about the payload of three of the carrier's Airbus A350s. It represents about 2% of the airline's pre-pandemic traffic. Hong Kong isn't doing much better. A new wave of virus in the city is forcing authorities to turn as many as 10,000 hotel rooms into accommodations for Covid patients, many of whom have been waiting on gurneys under blankets outside overburdened medical centers. has details.
        Happy hotels   Average U.S. hotel occupancy was 54.6% for the week ended February 12. That's the best performance since early December, according to lodging statisticians STR.

Coronavirus Update: Thursday, February 17, 2022

The Canada update in brief: Ottawa officials say they are restricting access to the city's central core, which has been overwhelmed by "freedom convoy" protesters for weeks. (Details here.) Meanwhile, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says financial service providers have already frozen accounts of some individuals associated with the protesters. (Details here.) Here are today's other developments:
        Wednesday woes   The TSA says that 1,656,217 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday That's just 66.8% of 2019 volume on a similar Wednesday, another traditionally slow travel day.
        Swiss give it a miss   Switzerland has removed all Covid-related entry rules. "Health-related measures for persons entering the country are to be lifted. It will no longer be necessary to provide proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test or complete an entry form," according to the Swiss Federal Council.
        Austria adapts   Austria is loosening entry rules. Effective March 5, travelers most only show one of the following: proof of full vaccination, proof of recovery or a negative test
        Singapore slides   Singapore is adjusting entry rules. Isolation and mandatory PCR tests are out for some travelers. Effective February 21, visitors arriving under the Vaccinated Travel Lane model will instead take a supervised self-swab at a testing center within 24 hours of landing. Details are here.
        Vietnam reopens   Vietnam will reopen to all international tourists on March 15 after a two-year border closure. (U.S. travelers already have been permitted to visit, of course.) Vaccination and negative test as well as substantial medical insurance will be required. Agence France-Presse has details.

Coronavirus Update: Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022

The Canada update in brief: Three weeks into the protest in downtown Ottawa, police have begun distributing written warnings to anti-vax/anti-mask demonstrators that they must leave. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has directed banks and other financial institutions to stop doing business with protestors. Here are today's other developments:
        Tuesday troubles   The TSA says that 1,479,653 people passed through U.S. airport security checkpoints yesterday That's just 67.5% of 2020 volume on a similar Tuesday, traditionally the slowest travel day of the week.
        No masks for Mickey   Disneyland will lift its indoor mask mandate for vaccinated visitors starting tomorrow. The Los Angeles Times has details.
        Not so fast   An appeals court has temporarily blocked Boston mayor Michelle Wu's vaccine mandate for city employees. (Details here.) Separately, a Georgia federal judge blocked the Air Force from dismissing a service member who refused a Covid vaccine for religious reasons. (Details here.)
        Canada changes   Canada has implemented several changes to arrival procedures for flyers. Airlines may now fly into any Canadian airport with customs facilities. And arrivals may now show either a negative PCR or some antigen tests to enter. The new rules are effective February 28. The government posted the changes here and the CBC has analysis.
        Fewer rules   The Netherlands says it will lift most of the country's Coronavirus restrictions on February 25. (Details here.) Meanwhile, Germany says it will end most of its restrictions by late March, but will continue to consider a vaccine mandate for all residents. (Details here.)

Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Canada update in brief: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has invoked rarely used emergency powers to allow the government more latitude to clear the trucker protest that continues to paralyze the area around Parliament in Ottawa. (See the Agence France-Presse report.) Meanwhile, Ottawa's police chief has resigned, according to the CBC. Separately, 13 people were arrested and a cache of weapons seized at the border crossing in Coutts, Alberta. Protesters have been trying to close the transborder crossing there. CTV News has those details. Here are today's other developments:
        Business travel blues   Business travel isn't roaring back: Last weekend (Friday-Sunday), when leisure travelers rule, the TSA said traffic passing through U.S. airport security checkpoints was nearly 79% of 2020 volume. On Monday, a heavy day for business travel, the TSA says 1,731,473 people passed through checkpoints. That's just 69.4% of 2020 volume on a similar day.
        Long Covid's long haul   Long Covid, the syndrome that afflicts some Coronavirus victims, apparently affects your ability to exercise long after you are "cured." The New York Times has details.
        The smart and the fired   New York City has fired 1,430 workers for flouting the city's vaccine mandate. But the good news: Nearly 1,000 city workers on unpaid leave before being discharged were smart enough to get a vaccine. WABC News 7 has details.
        Novaxx again   Unvaccinated tennis star Novak Djokovic, deported from Australia last month before he was able to defend his Australian Open crown, says he'll skip the French Open if it requires a vaccine. Missing high-profile tournaments is "the price that I'm willing to pay," he told the BBC
        Bleak Berlin   Hotel occupancy in Berlin in January plunged to 28.2% as Germany was gripped by an outbreak of the Omicron variant. New Year's Day occupancy fell to 38.7%, according to lodging statisticians STR, compared to 75.3% in 2020 and 68.8% in 2019.

Coronavirus Update: Monday, February 14, 2022

The Canada update in brief: Local law enforcement spent the weekend clearing anti-vax and anti-mask protestors from the Ambassador Bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. The bridge has now reopened to vehicular traffic, according to the CBC. Separately, at least according to Ontario Premier Doug Ford, the province will scrap its vaccine passport on March 1. The province's mask mandate will remain in force, however. CTV News has those details. Here are today's other developments:
        Upsy-daisy   Around 5.2 million people passed through TSA security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the weekend (Friday-Sunday). That is nearly 79% of 2020 volume, one of the strongest performances of 2022 so far.
        Down the slope   There were 1,217,001 new Coronavirus cases in the United States during the last week, according to Johns Hopkins. That is a very sharp drop from the previous week's more than 2 million. The death toll was 16,286, down slightly from the previous week.
        Europe over a hump   Eurocontrol says there was a daily average of 18,627 flights in Europe's skies during the week ended February 13. That is up nearly 8% from the previous week and moves the continent back to 70% of 2019 traffic.
        DC freed   Washington is dropping the requirement that people show proof of coronavirus vaccination before entering many businesses. The change, which affects restaurants, bars and similar retail operations, is effective tomorrow.
        Open for business   Microsoft will reopen its offices in Washington state and California this month, the company said today. Offices in both states will reopen on February 28.

Coronavirus Update: Weekend, February 12-13, 2022

As Ontario in general and Ottawa in specific continue to struggle with disruptive anti-mask/anti-vax protesters, the province of Manitoba has begun to dismantle its Covid restrictions has details. Here are this weekend's other developments.
        France freed   France has dropped the requirement that fully vaccinated travelers also show a negative Covid test before entering the country. Agence France-Presse has details.
        Who was that unmasked passenger?   Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean, two of the industry's largest, will drop their mask mandates. The Washington Post has details.
        Who was that unmasked associate?   Subject to local regulations, Walmart says it dropped the mask mandate for fully vaccinated employees. CNN has details.
        Snags in the NyLon   Eurocontrol, which handles the continent's air traffic system, says New York-London continues to be the busiest long-haul route. There were 24 average daily flights during the week ended February 9. That's up 14% from the previous week, but the so-called NyLon route was down 35% compared to 2019. London-Los Angeles is still down 45%. London-Chicago and London-Miami are each down 33%.
        The hotel half full   U.S. average nationwide hotel occupancy was 50.4% for the week ended February 5. Industry statisticians STR says it's the first time hotel occupancy was above 50% for the first time in more than a month.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 5-11

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 915,000 as the national vaccination rate finally reaches 65%. Nevada abruptly lifts indoor mask mandate hours before bettors flood casinos on Super Bowl weekend. Australia opens it borders on February 21. Spain expects two-thirds of 2019's travel volume this year. Italy drops outdoor mask mandate and Finland ends testing for travelers entering the country. California, New York, Nevada and a slew of other states end some mask mandates. Hawaii won't require a booster shot to visit. Malaysia may open borders in March. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for Jan. 29-February 4

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 896,000. 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. Dominican Republic 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 spring. Winter storms play havoc with daily travel. Denver Airport traffic in December was down only about 7% compared to 2019. Spain retains, then scraps, its outdoor mask mandate. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

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.