Coronavirus Special Report
Year Three: March 19-25, 2022
Read all about Covid! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 975,000. The national vaccination rate is stalled around 66%. Hong Kong and Singapore reopen to visitors in April. Austria reimposes a mask mandate as new infections rise again. Shanghai Disneyland closes again. China issues new stay-at-home orders for millions of residents. Spring Break traffic is near 2019 "norms" and is 11 times the volume of 2020, when Coronavirus first hit travel. A chain of Covid testing sites named O'Hare performed about how you'd expect. Hotel occupancy is bouncing back. South Africa drops testing for vaccinated travelers entering the country. And more.

Coronavirus Update: Friday, March 25, 2022

Two more countries--Australia and El Salvador--have approved a fourth dose of the Covid vaccine for their citizens. And Germany is now actively urging its residents over 70 to get the fourth dose. Here are today's other developments:
        Compare and contrast   The TSA says that 2,234,353 travelers passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's nearly 11 times the 203,858 souls who flew on a similar Thursday in March, 2020, just as the Coronavirus was talking hold.
        Dumb and drunker   Remember the woman who punched out a Southwest flight attendant last May and became the poster child of bad passenger behavior during the pandemic? Her sentencing has been delayed because she was cited for a DUI shortly after a federal court accepted her guilty plea. The Sacramento Bee has details.
        Nothing good is ever named O'Hare ...   Horrific details are emerging about a Covid testing operation that went from a single Chicago location to more than 100 shoddy pop-up sites nationwide. The firm received nearly $200 million in federal funds in 15 months while failing every inspection and flouting all health norms. And, of course, most of its tests were bogus, inaccurate or never completed. The company's name? O'Hare Clinical Lab Services. The Washington Post offers details in a superbly reported investigation.
        Rules for thee, not for me   Eric Adams, New York City's newish mayor, has overridden rules imposed by former Mayor Bill De Blasio and exempted recalcitrant sports stars and performers from the city's vaccine mandate. This after many rank-and-file city employees were fired for not complying. The New York Post has details.
        How Hong Kong screwed it up ...   More than two years after Covid began spreading around the globe, Hong Kong is experiencing one of the deadliest outbreaks of the entire pandemic. Despite rigid entry rules for travelers, including mandatory quarantines, and mass testing of locals, Hong Kong didn't do many of the basics to keep itself safe. The result? A Coronavirus surge that has "effectively collapsed" the city's health care system. Bloomberg News has details.
        When "back to normal" isn't good   The VAT tax on lodgings in the United Kingdom will return to 20% on April 1. Hoteliers (and travelers, of course) had been hoping the government would maintain the lower 12.5% rate instituted during the pandemic, but U.K. Chancellor Rishi Sunak made no mention of continuing the rollback in a policy speech this week.

Coronavirus Update: Midweek, March 23-24, 2022

The next variant, BA.2, has arrived in the United States. It doesn't look so scary for now. But it already accounts for nearly a quarter of the new Covid infections in the United States. NBC news has details. Here are today's other developments:
        Midweek momentum   The TSA says a total of slightly more than 3.8 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints on Tuesday and Wednesday. That's about 87% of volume during a similar midweek in March, 2019. It is also quite strong for the traditionally weakest days in the travel week.
        Singapore unslung   Singapore will lift restrictions for all vaccinated travelers starting April 1. That means the city's convoluted VTL (vaccinated Travel Lane) system will be scrapped. France24 has details.
        Masks off   A4A, the acronym for the heinously named trade group of U.S. airlines, has written to President Biden asking that the in-flight mask mandate be lifted. It also wants Biden to end the practice of requiring travelers headed to the United States test negative for Covid before arrival. FlightGlobal has details.
        Insurrectionists need not apply ...   The U.S. Capitol will begin formally reopening to visitors and tourists on Monday after being closed to the public for about two years. The Capitol closed at the beginning of the pandemic and its reopening was delayed by the Trump insurrection of January 6. The New York Times has details.
        The Great White (Empty) North   The average occupancy rate in Canada during the month of February was just 44%. STR, the hotel statistician, says that is about 25 points lower than pre-pandemic norms, but an improvement over recent months.
        South Africa relaxes   South Africa has relaxed some remaining Covid-19 curbs. Most notably, it has dropped mandatory testing for fully vaccinated travelers entering the country. AfricaNews.com has details.

Coronavirus Update: Tuesday, March 22, 2022

If you believe
this survey, leisure road trips have now exceeded 2019 levels. That is astonishing given the pandemic and the Russian-fueled gasoline price hikes. Grains of salt, I guess. Here are today's other developments:
        Manic Monday   The TSA says that 2,158,280 people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints yesterday. That's 88.7% of volume on a similar Monday in 2019. It is also the fifth consecutive day with more than 2 million passengers at the airport.
        Hong Kong reopening   Hong Kong will lift flight bans in place for nine countries including the United States. The city-state also will reduce mandatory quarantine for returning residents who test negative to seven days. The change kicks in beginning April 1. CNBC has details.
        Oh, that's why ...   Wondering why Hong Kong is opening its doors again? This could explain it: Hong Kong International Airport says it handled 86,000 passengers in February. In January, 2019, the airport handled 6.5 million flyers.
        Sure, of course   The so-called People's Convoy that has alternately annoyed and bored the Washington area for several weeks may have racked up its first incident. Police are running down reports that a convoy leader ran down a pedestrian. The Daily Beast has details.

Coronavirus Update: Monday, March 21, 2022

Novavax, a new U.S.-created vaccine, has been thisclose to a flop in its initial rollout in the European Union. It still does not have approval in the United States, either. Reuters has details. Here are today's other developments:
        So close to normal   This is the weekend in 2020 when airline traffic collapsed as Coronavirus began to dominate our lives. The TSA says only about 1.6 million people passed through U.S. airport checkpoints that weekend in 2019. This year, the weekend (Friday-Sunday) saw about 6.7 million passengers. That is 92.4% of 2019 volume, when no one knew the Coronavirus would be our future.
        A red flag as we go down the mountain   There were 209,224 new Coronavirus cases in the United States during the last week, according to Johns Hopkins. That is down about around 20% from the previous week--and a startling decline from the record-high 5.6 million new cases recorded just two months ago. The death toll is falling, too, down to 6,062. That is down about a third from the previous week. But The New York Times raises a red flag about the numbers: States aren't reporting statistics as vigorously or as completely as in the past. Details are here.
        Back to the future   Austria is hastily reviving a requirement to wear face masks in indoor public places as Covid-related cases surge again. Politico.com has details.
        Let's do it again   China on Sunday imposed stay-at-home orders on millions more people in the country's northeast as it battles its biggest Covid-19 outbreak in two years. France24 has details.
        Europe surprise II   Europe flights averaged 20,542 per day for the week ended March 20, says Eurocontrol, which operates the continent's air traffic control system. That's up 2.3% from the previous week and represents 74.3% of 2019 aircraft volume, a surprise given the effects of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent airspace closures.

Coronavirus Update: Weekend, March 19-20, 2022

Three doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines were 94% effective in preventing death or the need for a ventilator during the Omicron surge, according to a new survey. TheHill.com has details. Here are this weekend's other developments.
        Closed again   Shanghai Disneyland is closing again as the city battles with a surge in Covid cases. CNBC has details.
        Welcome to the Hotel California   You know what they say: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave! Passengers on a JetBlue Airways flight spent the night on a plane because the ground crew had gone home. And it took four days for passengers to disembark from a Norwegian Cruise Line ship that ran aground in the Dominican Republic.
        There'll always be a London   With Covid-related restrictions ending around England as the Omicron variant receded, London hotels showed an immediate rebound. The average occupancy rates for hotels in the city was 58.8% in February. Lodging statisticians STR says this is the best performance since November, 2021, but still 25% below pre-pandemic norms for February.
        It's all Greek ...   Greek airports handled a total of 1.3 million passengers in February. That is a threefold increase over February, 2021, but still around one-third below pre-pandemic levels. Details are here.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for March 12-March 18:

Read all about Covid! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 970,000, but new cases have plunged since January peaks. The national vaccination rate finally reaches 66%. Canada drops testing requirement for fully vaccinated visitors starting on April 1. Flying for Spring break is roaring. Heathrow Airport and British airlines drop their mask mandates. New Zealand and South Korea welcome tourists again starting in April. Domestic airline traffic fell 27.3% in 2021. Global seat capacity remains 22% below pre-pandemic highs. Miami Airport reports busiest day in its history. Shenzhen locks down and China closes parts of Shanghai, too. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for March 5-March 11:

Read all about Covid! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 965,000 and the global death toll has passed six million. The national vaccination rate is stalled below 66%. Hawaii and Ontario drop their indoor mask mandates. Ireland, Belgium, Romania and Hungary drop their entry restrictions, but Luxembourg says leisure travelers are still not welcome. Taiwan and Saudi Arabia loosen Covid restrictions. Malaysia reopens to vaccinated tourists on April 1. United Airlines says its unvaccinated employees may return to work. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for Feb. 26-March 4:

Read all about Covid! U.S. Coronavirus deaths pass 956,000 while national vaccination rate remains below 66%. Hotels are charging us lots more while they offer much less. Hawaii will drop entry tests and proof-of-vaccination rules before the end of the month and Bali ends mandatory quarantines on March 14. Philadelphia and Boston drop indoor mask mandates and New York City will end its proof-of-vaccine rules. Bad drivers created havoc on the nation's roads during the height of the pandemic. U.S. airline traffic during the last weekend of February reached 90% of 2020 volume. U.S. carriers operated 78% of pre-pandemic schedules in 2021. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 19-25

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 944,000 as the national vaccination rate stalls around 65%. Boston drops proof-of-vaccination rules and Los Angeles County ends mask mandate. England drops all Coronavirus restrictions. Ireland drops masking requirements. EU advises member nations to end Covid entry rules and testing and Italy drops them effective March 1. The DOT says 2021 air traffic was 27% below 2019's record total as passengers skewed more domestic than ever before. Washington-area airports were around 60% of 2019 volume. Atlanta/Hartsfield was about 68%. Notable exception? Austin/Bergstrom Airport. And more. Click here for the week's updates.

Daily Coronavirus Updates for February 12-18

Read all about it! U.S. Coronavirus deaths top 931,000. Washington ends proof-of-vaccine requirement for most businesses. Business travel flying continues to lag leisure numbers. France ends entry-testing requirement for fully vaccinated visitors. Flight volume between U.S. gateways and London/Heathrow remains down sharply. Two major cruise lines and Disneyland drop mask mandates. Germany, Austria and the Netherlands slowly lift national Covid restrictions. Switzerland ends all its Coronavirus entry requirements. Canada says it will accept some antigen tests to enter the country. Hawaii is last state to maintain all 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. Click here for the week's updates.

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.