Several airlines such as United, Delta and Alaska said on Thursday that they were canceling flights on December 24 due to the rise of Covid cases. This means that several thousand travelers will be left stranded and forced to alter their holiday plans.
While United Airlines canceled 120 flights, Delta Air Lines pulled 90 flights and Alaska Airlines 17 flights.
Holiday travel for Americans is like clockwork as millions travel before Christmas to either meet their loved ones or go on vacation. This is happening even as national Omicron Covid-19 infections surpass Delta’s peak.
Added to the rise of infection is the testing crunch the United States is facing as well as the rising lack of space in hospitals and intensive care units. To combat this, President Joe Biden announced that there will be more testing sites available in the near future and that half a billion home kits will be shipped out beginning in January.
Despite this, the American Automobile Association estimated 109 million people will take trips of 50 miles or more over the festive period. This is a 30 percent increase from 2020 from December 23 and January 2.
Travelers must be wary of their role in the spread as festivities are expected to further drive up Covid cases. This comes at the worst time for the nation as the seven-day average of new daily cases is about to surpass the Delta peak seen in September.
On a more positive note, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now allowing asymptomatic staff with Covid to return to work after seven days isolation, down from 10 days. Furthermore, the Food and Drug Administration authorized a Merck-developed a day after greenlighting Pfizer’s more effective pill.