Covid-19, Omicron and Travel News: Live Updates

Picture A security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on Sunday. While the coronavirus was a major factor in the groundings,...


PictureA security checkpoint at Denver International Airport on Sunday.  While the coronavirus was a major factor in the groundings, bad weather and maintenance issues also caused problems.
Credit…David Zalubowski / Associated press

Flight disruptions in the United States showed little sign of slowing down on Monday, as many people made their first trip in nearly two years, and Dr.Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s foremost disease expert infectious diseases, again raised the possibility of a vaccination requirement for air travel.

At least 2,600 more flights were canceled on Monday, including around 1,000 US flights, as the highly transmissible variant Omicron sends cases daily to parts of the United States. soar to levels higher than the pandemic peak of last winter.

While cancellations made up only a small percentage of all flights, the problem threatened to spread to the vacation week.

“When you make vaccination a requirement, it is another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Dr Fauci said. noted on MSNBC Monday. “If you want to do this with domestic flights, I think that’s something that should be seriously considered.”

Over the holiday weekend, airlines canceled thousands of flights as the Omicron variant hit flight crews. In total, around 2,300 U.S. flights were canceled on the Saturday and Sunday of the Christmas holiday weekend, with more than 3,500 more stranded around the world, according to FlightAware, which provides aviation data. As of Sunday alone, more than 1,300 US flights and nearly 1,700 additional flights around the world were canceled.

While some of the groundings were caused by bad weather and maintenance issues, several airlines acknowledged that the current wave of coronavirus cases had contributed significantly. A spokesperson for JetBlue said the airline had “seen an increasing number of Omicron sickness calls.”

According to FlightAware, 12% of JetBlue flights, 6% of Delta Air Lines flights, 5% of United Airlines flights and 2% of American Airlines flights were canceled on Sunday.

United, Delta, American and Southwest stock prices – the four the biggest US carriers – were down slightly on Monday.

Travel has rebounded strongly this year, worsening the situation at airports: around two million people passed through checkpoints every day last week, according to the Transportation Security Administration, and the Sunday. The numbers on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were much higher than last year, and some numbers even exceeded those of the same days two years ago, when virtually no American was aware that a virus was starting. to travel to the other side of the world.

The Omicron variant, which is now responsible for more than 70% of new coronavirus cases in the United States, has already helped push daily US case averages above 200,000 for the first time in nearly 12 months, New York Times coronavirus tracker says.

A commercial group of airlines has request the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to shorten the recommended isolation period for fully vaccinated employees who test positive to a maximum of five days, starting at 10 days, before they can come back with a negative test.

“Quick and secure adjustments by the CDC would ease at least some of the staffing pressures and set up airlines to help millions of travelers returning from vacation,” said Derek Dombrowski, a spokesperson for JetBlue. .

The flight attendants union, however, argued that reductions in recommended isolation times should be decided “by public health professionals, not the airlines.”

Some of the delays this weekend had little to do with the pandemic. Alaska Airlines has had only a few cancellations related to the crew’s exposure to the coronavirus, according to spokesperson Alexa Rudin. Yet it had canceled 170 flights in those two days, according to FlightAware, including 21% of its Sunday flights, due to unusually cold and snowy weather in the Pacific Northwest, which affected its hub, the International Airport of Seattle-Tacoma.

The pandemic has also caused a shortage of train and bus workers nationwide. In New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is also facing a slight increase in positive cases among its staff, who are 80 percent vaccinated. But Monday’s subway service was operating on a regular schedule, with a few exceptions, said Demetrius Crichlow, senior vice president of subways.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Covid-19, Omicron and Travel News: Live Updates
Covid-19, Omicron and Travel News: Live Updates
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