Tag: infections

Thanksgiving Travel Data Point to Surge in Covid Infections and Deaths

(Bloomberg) — Coronavirus infections are already reaching unprecedented levels throughout the U.S. Now with Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror and Christmas and New Year’s just around the curve, the question is: Just how much worse is the pandemic going to get?

The latest travel data out Monday suggest that things are looking grim. Between 800,000 and 1.1 million people flew in the days leading up to and after the holiday, according to data released by the Transportation Safety Administration. Though those numbers are a fraction of typical Thanksgiving travel patterns, they are far higher than public health officials and epidemiologists hoped to see.



a group of people standing in front of a building: Airline Travelers Ahead Of The Thanksgiving Holiday


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Airline Travelers Ahead Of The Thanksgiving Holiday

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the U.S. may be about to see “a surge upon a surge.” On CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, said that Americans who traveled this past week should “assume that you were exposed and you became infected.” She urged those that traveled to get tested within the next week.

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The number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. There have been more than 265,000 deaths. Last Wednesday, as millions had already begun their holiday travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast as many as 21,400 new deaths due to the virus over the next four weeks.

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health, said he suspects those numbers are not high enough.

“Everytime I look at the data, it’s worse,” he said.

Jha says he expects the number of new deaths to be more in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 in the Thanksgiving aftermath.

“Things are going to be so bad over the next month,” Jha said.

Exactly how bad it will get is difficult to say. Americans not only flew, but also drove to Thanksgiving celebrations. Before the holiday, the American Automobile Association predicted significant declines in bus, train and cruise travel, but only a slight drop in car travel. AAA said it would not have travel figures for the holiday anytime soon.

Car travel was projected to fall 4.3% from last year’s pre-pandemic level, to 47.8 million travelers. With less travel this year by public transportation, AAA estimates driving will account for 95% of all holiday travel. On Monday, AAA said travel may have been less than initially forecast because of climbing infection rates and public health warnings. U.S. gasoline demand decreased 7.3% in seven days ending Nov. 28, according to GasBuddy, the travel and navigation app.



a busy street filled with lots of traffic: Traffic Ahead Of The Thanksgiving Holiday


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Traffic Ahead Of The Thanksgiving Holiday

Even with a surge in online sales, some Americans still hit the road to shop. Chains with lines out the door included Lululemon Athletica Inc., Bath & Body Works and Urban Outfitters. Shoppers camped overnight in some locations of GameStop Corp., one of the few retailers to do brick-and-mortar releases of

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Rising infections complicate rules for New York-area travel

“The problem is, if I bring my daughter to Rhode Island for her weekend here, then when she goes back to New York — due to Rhode Island being on New York’s quarantine list — she can’t go to school. She has to quarantine for 14 days,” said Collins, 36, of Warwick.

“It’s been taking its toll,” he said. “There’s no end in sight. I find it ironic that Rhode Island is the only New England state on New York’s list. It’s very frustrating.”

With coronavirus rates rising across the country, more states have qualified for the travel restrictions imposed by New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, raising questions about the usefulness of those rules. Only seven states now have rates low enough to avoid the three states’ 14-day quarantine mandate.

Connecticut and New Jersey recently qualified for their own restrictions due to rising virus rates, dealing a blow to the pride of a region that saw low virus numbers over the summer after suffering through the country’s first large outbreak.

Public health officials say the restrictions continue to help limit the spread of the virus, but enforcement has been uneven, with the three states all relying on the honor system for travelers to self-isolate and complete forms.

And the virus rate thresholds adopted by the three states are low, compared with some others used around the country and world.

“When you impose these rules and you can’t even satisfy them yourself, what it does is it shines a bright light on how ill-conceived these rules are,” said Sheldon Jacobson, a computer science professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studies pandemic data. “Do you change the bar? Do you keep moving it so that you are no longer part of it? Or do you … drop it, saying, ‘This is not working’?”

Some research has shown travel restrictions are effective. In a study of several European countries and New Zealand published in July by the New England Complex Systems Institute, researchers said they reduce the chances of “undermining disease containment by importing infected cases.”

When New York, New Jersey and Connecticut implemented their travel rules in late June, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, blasted mostly Republican-led states where the virus was spiking for reopening their economies too early and playing “politics” with COVID-19.

It was a turning of the tables. In March, Cuomo had criticized President Donald Trump for wanting to quarantine tri-state-area residents due to high virus rates, saying it would be a “federal declaration of war.” New York officials also weren’t happy when Florida and Texas set quarantine rules for people coming from the three states early in the pandemic.

Under the three states’ advisories, travelers are required to quarantine for 14 days and submit forms disclosing personal information if they are arriving from states averaging 10 or more new daily cases of the coronavirus per 100,000 residents over a seven-day period, or from states where 10% or more of tests came up

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UK police to enforce travel ban to curb COVID infections

Danica Kirka, Associated Press
Published 2:09 p.m. ET Oct. 25, 2020

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Traffic passes a COVID-19 sign informing drivers of the “firebreak” lockdown which comes into force from 6:00 pm (1700 GMT), closing non-food retailers, cafes, restaurants, pubs and hotels for two weeks in a bid to reduce soaring coronavirus cases on October 23, 2020 in Cardiff. (Photo: GEOFF CADDICK, AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON (AP) — A police force in England says it will try to stop people from leaving Wales, which has started a 17-day lockdown to slow a surging rate of coronavirus infections.

The Gloucestershire Constabulary will patrol routes from Wales and pull over drivers they believe are making long journeys. Travelers without a good excuse will be asked to turn around. If they don’t comply, officers will inform their Welsh counterparts so they can take action because Gloucestershire police don’t have the authority to fine people traveling from Wales, the department said.

The situation illustrates the patchwork of coronavirus restrictions imposed by authorities throughout the U.K., which has Europe’s deadliest coronavirus numbers, with 44,661 confirmed virus deaths. Some 1,756 of those occurred in Wales, which has a population of about 3 million.

Under the U.K.’s system of devolved authority, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have established their own public health rules. Meanwhile, the national government in Westminster has created a three-tiered virus alert system that applies to England alone.

South Yorkshire on Saturday became the latest region to enter Tier 3 — the tightest level of virus risk restrictions in England — following Liverpool, Greater Manchester and Lancashire.

But it is the Welsh government that has imposed one of the U.K.’s strictest lockdowns, including a ban on non-essential travel. Under rules that took effect Friday evening, Wales also closed most businesses and restricted high schools to online instruction.

Another English police force, West Mercia, also said it will be working with their Welsh counterparts to “enforce, where necessary, the relevant rules for the area we serve.”

New infections are continuing to rise across Britain. Professor Neil Ferguson, whose modelling led to the U.K.’s original lockdown in March, told the BBC that the current situation was “worrying.″

“We are in a critical time right now,″ he said. “The health system will not be able to cope with this rate of growth for much longer.”

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CT Discourages Travel To NY As Infections Rise

CONNECTICUT — Less than a day after suggesting the state was on the verge of relaxing the restrictions that placed states onto its coronavirus travel advisory list, Gov. Ned Lamont pulled a 180.

During a news conference Tuesday, the governor told reporters that the present metrics will stay in place.

Currently, states and territories are placed on the advisory list if they have a daily positive coronavirus test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents or a 10 percent or higher positive rate over a seven-day rolling average. On Monday, Lamont said that soon states will need to meet both criteria, not just one, and the positivity rate will be lowered to 5 percent. That change will make qualifying for the travel advisory list more difficult.

“The other threshold was so broad, it was becoming unenforceable,” Lamont said.

Nevertheless, that threshold will remain, at least for the time being. The surprise move Tuesday came after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo doubled down on keeping current guidelines in place.

Cuomo said he will be speaking with Lamont and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy about how New York officials can help with the outbreaks and also “about making it clear to the extent travel among the states or between the states is not essential, it should be avoided.”

The governors added Arizona and Maryland to the area’s coronavirus travel advisory list Tuesday, bringing the number of restricted places to 40.

Lamont said there has always been an exemption to any travel restrictions between New York and Connecticut, for the residents of one state who live in the other. The recent spike in infections, however, was making the tri-state governors take a hard look at nonessential travel around the area.

“If you don’t have to travel, if you don’t have to go into parts of Brooklyn and Queens, where you’ve got an 8 percent positivity rate, don’t go,” Lamont said.

The positivity rates for Connecticut and New Jersey still stand far below the 10 percent threshold for the travel advisory, but their cases reached above 10 cases per 100,000 people, New York officials said.

Late Tuesday, Lamont, Cuomo and Murphy released a joint statement:

“The travel advisory was designed to keep our respective states safe, with the understanding that we are a connected region, dependent on each other when it comes to commerce, education, and health care. We’re urging all of our residents to avoid unnecessary or non-essential travel between states at this time, but will not subject residents of our states to a quarantine if coming from a neighboring state. New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have among the lowest infection rates in the country because we have based our approaches to controlling the spread on science and data, and we will continue to do so.”

Lamont has directed his staff to reach out to their counterparts in Massachusetts and Rhode Island to discuss working out a similar approach with their respective states.

Until then, anyone from a restricted state

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NY Discourages Travel From NJ As Coronavirus Infections Rise

NEW JERSEY — After New Jersey regressed in its management of the coronavirus pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has discouraged travel between the two states. And they aren’t alone.

On Tuesday, Cuomo announced nonessential travel between New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania should be put on pause, but stopped short of including the states on New York’s travel advisory list despite the fact that the Garden State qualifies for it.

A placement on that list would mean travelers from the three states would need to quarantine for 14 days after arriving in New York, something Cuomo said was impractical. Such a move could have a tremendous economic impact on the two states since tens of thousands of commuters travel from the Garden State to New York every day.

A discussion is planned between Gov. Phil Murphy, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and Cuomo on Tuesday. The meeting is “about making it clear to the extent travel among the states or between the states is not essential, it should avoided,” and to discuss how New York officials can help manage outbreaks, Cuomo said.

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut all share the same travel advisory standards, which include:

  • An average daily number of cases higher than 10 per 100,000 over a seven-day period.

  • A positivity rate of 10 percent or higher over seven days.

New Jersey’s positivity rates are still below the 10 percent mark, but the state’s cases have reached more than 10 cases per 100,000 people, according to New York officials.

Lamont recently suggested a change to those standards, which would make it harder for states to qualify for the list. Cuomo didn’t address that proposal, however.

For now, at least, New Jersey will remain absent from the undesirable list, but an update is expected on interstate travel as soon as Wednesday. “And I’ll have more to say on that (Wednesday),” said Cuomo.

New Jersey has its own travel advisory and has also kept Pennsylvania and Connecticut off its list. The current number of states that are subject to quarantining is 38. Read more: NJ Expands Coronavirus Travel Quarantine List To Biggest Ever

This article originally appeared on the Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch

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Cuomo Mulls Restricting Travel From NJ, CT As Infections Rise

NEW YORK CITY — Coronavirus case spikes in New Jersey and Connecticut have reached a point where all non-essential travel from them to the Empire State likely will be discouraged, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.

Cuomo’s assessment Tuesday of New York’s neighboring states comes amid growing COVID-19 outbreaks across the country. He said 43 states are now on New York’s travel advisory list, which requires travelers from them to quarantine for 14 days — but he didn’t immediately provide the updated list.

Connecticut and New Jersey now both qualify to be on the list but no quarantine order has been issued because the close ties between the states make it impractical, Cuomo said.

He said he’ll be speaking with Connecticut’s and New Jersey’s governors Tuesday about how New York officials can help with the outbreaks and also “about making it clear to the extent travel among the states or between the states is not essential, it should avoided.”

“And I’ll have more to say on that (Wednesday),” he said.

The three states all share the same travel advisory standards, which are:

  • An average daily number of cases higher than 10 per 100,000 over a seven-day period.

  • A positivity rate of 10 percent or higher over seven days.

But Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont recently suggested changing the standards to make it more difficult for states to get on the list.

Connecticut’s and New Jersey’s positivity rates still stand far below the 10 percent threshold for the travel advisory, but their cases reached above 10 cases per 100,000 people, New York officials said.

Cuomo did not address Lamont’s proposal to change the standard — indeed, he and his staff made clear they were sticking with the old level.

He said he’ll be talking with Connecticut’s and New Jersey’s governors as to how to help the states with their coronavirus outbreaks, but made it clear that many travel restrictions likely won’t apply to them.

It’s likely officials will discourage non-essential travel from those states into New York, Cuomo said. But otherwise it’s too difficult to separate the three states’ economies, he said.

“There is no practical way to quarantine New York from Connecticut and New Jersey,” Cuomo said.

This story will be updated with the full, updated travel advisory list.

This article originally appeared on the New York City Patch

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U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada to remain closed for non-essential travel as coronavirus infections rise

Washington — The United States’ borders with Mexico and Canada will remain closed for non-essential travel for another month as the country braces for what public health experts say will be a difficult winter battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Monday that the three countries will extend travel restrictions through November 21 in an effort to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are working closely with Mexico & Canada to identify safe criteria to ease the restrictions in the future & support our border communities,” Wolf tweeted.

Bill Blair, Canada’s minister of public safety and emergency preparedness, said the nation’s “decisions will continue to be baked on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

Under the restrictions, a foreign national arriving in Canada from the U.S. must prove they are traveling for an essential purpose or are an immediate family member and are not showing symptoms of COVID-19. Travelers must also have a plan to quarantine for 14 days.

Those traveling to Mexico from the U.S. may also be denied entry if their trip is considered non-essential, including for tourism and recreational purposes.

The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus infections, with more than 8.2 million confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University. Mexico, by contrast, has had more than 800,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, and Canada has had more than 204,000 infections.

Coronavirus cases continue to rise in more than 30 states, and public health experts are warning the U.S. will be in for a difficult fall and winter.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, told “Face the Nation” in an interview Sunday that the U.S. is heading toward the “most difficult phase of this epidemic.”

“I think the next three months are going to be very challenging. There’s really no backstop against the spread that we’re seeing,” he said.

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Merkel urges Germans to reduce contacts and travel as infections rise

BERLIN (Reuters) – Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans to curb social contacts and keep travel to a minimum on Saturday after federal and state governments struggled to agree on how to contain a second wave of coronavirus infections.

FILE PHOTO: Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel removes her mask for the EU summit final news conference at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium October 16, 2020. Kenzo Tribouillard/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

“We have to do everything to prevent the virus from spreading out of control. Every day counts,” Merkel said in a weekly video podcast.

While Germany’s infection rates are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating and hit a daily record of 7,830 on Saturday, according to the Robert Koch Institute for infections diseases. The death toll rose by 33 to 9,767.

“We have to go further,” Merkel said. “I appeal to you: meet with fewer people, either at home or outside.

“Please forsake any journey that is not absolutely essential, every party that is not absolutely essential. Stay at home, where at all possible.”

Merkel’s appeal came as President Frank-Walter Steinmeier went into quarantine after a bodyguard tested positive for coronavirus, his office said. Steinmeier, whose role is largely ceremonial, has also been tested and is awaiting the result.

German leaders have been unable to agree on tougher measures to contain a second wave. Courts in several regions have, meanwhile, overturned bans on hotel stays for visitors from infection hotspots.

Politicians and health experts have appealed to the public to take voluntary measures over and above those already prescribed – including wearing masks, social distancing and hand washing.

Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg tested positive for coronavirus after attending a meeting with his European Union counterparts on Monday, his spokeswoman said.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who also attended the meeting in Luxembourg, tested negative on Friday as did members of his team, his spokesman said.

Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Sabine Siebold; Editing by Frances Kerry and Mike Harrison

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