More than 7,300 flights were delayed or canceled across the country on Sunday amid the latest Omicron-powered coronavirus surge.
About 1,400 flights entering, leaving or taking off in the United States were canceled and about 5,900 were delayed on Sunday, according to tracking website FlightAware. More than 4,000 flights were delayed or canceled on Christmas Day as holiday travelers scrambled for days of nightmares.
Delta, United and JetBlue have blamed the Omicron variant for staffing problems that led to the flight cancellations. “It was unexpected,” United spokeswoman Maddie King said of O’Micron’s impact on staffing.
Delays and cancellations have been a recurring theme this year as airlines have extended the schedule. Thousands of workers were fired from the industry last year when air travel collapsed, and demand for workers has not kept up with the resurgence.
The nation’s top infectious disease physician, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that he supports a vaccine mandate for domestic air travel. But, he said, wearing a mask with proper filtration should keep air travelers reasonably safe.
Such a mandate would be another “mechanism that would drive them to vaccinate,” he said. “Anything that can get people more immunized would be welcome.”
Many US airlines require their employees to be fully vaccinated, sparking controversy among some employees, but it is not yet required for most domestic passengers. International travelers entering the United States must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test within one day of their departure.
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Despite testing and reporting being disrupted because of the Christmas holiday, the number of cases in the United States rose – by 1.29 million a week, or an average of about 184,000 per day, data from Johns Hopkins University shows. Hospitalizations and deaths rose slightly, averaging 1,300 per day.
Vice President Kamala Harris refused to blame the illiterate for the latest surge. “But it is clear that everyone has the potential to make a choice to save their lives and prevent hospitalization if they get vaccinated and if they get a booster,” she said on CBS.face the nation,
Mastercard Spending Pulse reported Sunday that US holiday sales rose 8.5% from a year earlier, the biggest annual gain in 17 years. The results are from November 1 to December 24.
Vermont Everyone Eats, a food assistance program that helps state residents, restaurants and farmers recover from the pandemic, has been extended until April 1.
France has recorded more than 100,000 virus infections in a single day for the first time since the pandemic. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations has doubled in the last one month.
More than 160 nonprofits in Rhode Island are sharing $5.4 million in federal coronavirus relief funds to provide housing, behavioral health services, health care, job training, food pantries and babysitting for those most affected by the pandemic.
IToday’s issue: The US has recorded more than 52 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 816,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: More than 279.9 million cases and 5.3 million deaths. According to the CDC, more than 204 million Americans — 61.7% — have been fully vaccinated.
I What we are reading: The Omicron edition has eluded America’s spectacular return to office, perhaps for months. Many companies that notified employees they would need to return to the office at least part-time early next year have pushed back those plans or are considering doing so. Read more
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Some states reported hospitalization
The latest wave of COVID-19 is affecting hospitals in some parts of the country, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday.
Washington, DC reported 77% more COVID-19 patients in hospital beds and 42% more in intensive care beds than a week ago.
Florida’s hospital admissions have increased by 64%. Hawaii is up 44%.
And in Louisiana, COVID-19 hospitalizations doubled in the past week. The Louisiana Department of Health said 449 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Sunday. This is the highest since mid-October, which was the state’s worst surge at that time.
Across the state, 80% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been fully vaccinated, the health department reported.
But the wave is moving unevenly across the country. Nearly half the states report fewer COVID-19 admissions and fewer people in ICU beds.
Dr Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the “extraordinarily contagious” version of Omicron will continue to increase daily coronavirus infections across the country.
“Every day it goes up and up. The previous weekly average was about 150,000 (per day) and it’s likely to be much higher,” Fauci said. ABC’s “This Week.”
President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser warned that while studies show Omicron is less severe in terms of hospitalization, more cases could still overwhelm hospitals. He defended the administration’s efforts to provide more tests amid shortages, and said he wished he had thought about ordering 500 million home tests two months ago.
“I think things will improve a lot as we come in January,” he said. “But that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow.”
Fenway Bowl, Military Bowl Sheltered as Surge Cripples College Football
The Fenway Bowl and Military Bowl were canceled on Sunday because of the pandemic as the coronavirus outbreak at the University of Virginia and Boston College forced schools to call off postseason plans. Wednesday’s game at Boston’s Fenway Park was to pit the Cavaliers against Southern Methodist University. Monday’s Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, between Boston College and East Carolina University, was canceled due to positive COVID-19 tests in B.C.
“That’s not the way we wanted to see this season end,” BC coach Jeff Hafley said. “We don’t have enough players to play a game safely.”
The Hawaii Bowl was canceled last week after Hawaii withdrew from the game against the University of Memphis. And Rutgers will replace Texas A&M at the Gator Bowl against Wake Forest on New Year’s Eve after the Aggies pulled out due to a lack of available players.
Florida set a record for the second day in a row in the pandemic, with 32,850 new cases reported on Saturday. The 31,758 cases reported on Friday had broken the state’s previous record of more than 27,000, which was set in August during the height of the delta wave. Public health experts say the current surge is driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
The rising number of cases drove the demand for COVID-19 tests, even on Christmas Day. Hours before a test site opened at Tropical Park in Miami, dozens of cars were parked outside the entrance. The test site was open from mid-morning to mid-afternoon; Two other sites in Miami-Dade County were open on Christmas Day.
The NBA’s Christmas message to its teams was a refrain it had been using for weeks: Get boosted.
With the number of players on the league’s health and safety protocol list hovering around 100 — and with Chicago coach Billy Donovan now tackling those protocols as well, questioning their availability for the next few Bulls games — the league And the National Basketball Player Association continues to house the importance of booster shots.
By December 31, every NBA team must arrange a booster-shot event for players, staff and family members, the latest mandate from the league to get its skyrocketing transition under control. The NBA has told teams that its data shows that boosters substantially reduce a person’s risk of becoming infected, but that one out of every three players has not received a booster shot. About 97% of leagues are vaccinated.
This comes as the league’s January 5 booster mandate looms large for all eligible scorers table personnel, team attendants and other staff who interact in person with players or referees. In almost all cases, if people in those positions do not have boosters by January 5, they will not be allowed to continue in those jobs.
Testing positive for COVID-19 begins a confusing, disruptive and at times frightening process – one that millions of Americans are likely to go through in the coming weeks as the Omicron version spreads rapidly this holiday season.
First, you need to disassemble. It’s a more intense version of quarantine – it means cutting off contact with other people as much as possible so you can reduce your chances of infecting them. This also means limiting contact with people who are not infected, not going to work, and even in their own homes.
The CDC says isolating is a necessary step, whether you have been vaccinated or unvaccinated, and whether you have symptoms or feel well.
Everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should have their symptoms monitored. And people who haven’t been vaccinated or are at high risk for serious disease should be extra alert for symptoms that may require emergency care. Call your doctor for initial treatment options.
How long should you isolate? How long will I be contagious? What if you are in close contact with someone who has tested positive? What you need to know about Omicron and COVID this holiday season,
Contributions: Mike Stuka, USA Today; The Associated Press