Tag: updates

Many Americans Ignored Thanksgiving Travel Warnings From CDC, Data Show : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

More Americans stayed home for Thanksgiving this year compared with last year — but by relatively small margins.

An NPR analysis of mobile phone location data showed that 42% of Americans with smartphones remained home, up from 36% last year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly urged people to avoid holiday travel because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the warnings, 13% of Americans still traveled a significant distance, the data showed, although that number was down from 17% last year.

Ali Mokdad, from the University of Washington, said that ideally, more people would have stayed home given the high case rates. “This level of travel will unfortunately lead to a rise in cases,” said Mokdad, who is the chief strategy officer for Population Health.

Data, provided to NPR by SafeGraph, are based on tracking the locations of about 18 million mobile phones across the United States. NPR analyzed the anonymized data to determine the percentage of people who stayed at their “home” location for Thanksgiving as well as the percentage who traveled 31 miles or more.

Thanksgiving week is usually one of the busiest travel periods of the year, but 2020 was expected to end an 11-year trend of travel growth going back to the 2008-09 Great Recession. Car travel had been expected to decrease by at least 10%, while accounting for a higher overall proportion of travel, as fewer people were expected to fly, according to AAA.

In fact, air travel this year was less than half of what it was for the same holiday period in 2019, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

Despite the decrease, the number of air passengers hovered at around 1 million per day for a majority of the week leading up to Thanksgiving, the highest it has been since mid-March, when the pandemic began to ramp up in the U.S. Air traffic has been steadily increasing the last few months, even as the country recorded some of its highest new daily coronavirus case counts. In the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day alone, the U.S. saw about 1 million new cases.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein noted there had been no issues with passenger volume on Thanksgiving Day. To account for more travelers during the travel period, the TSA “opened additional checkpoint lanes to help ensure low wait times and allow for social distancing.”

SafeGraph’s metrics cannot capture what people did when they left home or what safety measures they took to mitigate their risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. SafeGraph’s data also cannot account for whether those who left home went to houses within their social bubble.

If you were one of the people who traveled for Thanksgiving, it’s not too late to reduce the risk involved. Quarantining, wearing a mask near others, limiting interactions outside the house and getting tested if any symptoms develop can all reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

“The best way to prevent further spread of the disease is to stay home, avoid gatherings,

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Austin Mayor Encouraged People To Stay Home, Went To Cabo For Vacation : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Austin Mayor Steve Adler, shown here at an event in 2018, says he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas last month.

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Austin Mayor Steve Adler, shown here at an event in 2018, says he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas last month.

Eric Gay/AP

After initially saying he didn’t do anything wrong, Steve Adler, the mayor of Austin, Texas, says he now realizes he “set a bad example” by traveling to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for vacation last month.

An Austin American-Statesman story revealed Wednesday that Adler attended an in-person wedding for his daughter in early November and then flew with others to Cabo for a weeklong vacation.

At the same time, Adler was encouraging people to stay home to avoid contracting or spreading COVID-19.

“Not only did we not do anything wrong, we didn’t do anything that abrogated or violated the rules or regulations in the city, or the conduct that we were expecting of others that we also expect of ourselves,” Adler initially told KUT.

Adler confirmed to KUT that 20 people attended the wedding, which was held outside at a hotel and restaurant in Austin. He said people were seated at distanced tables but that not everyone was wearing masks.

At the time of the wedding, which was held in early November, the city and county were under Stage 3 of Austin Public Health’s risk-based guidelines, with public health officials urging people to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.

Adler said his daughter had originally invited about 100 people to the wedding but disinvited dozens to hold a much smaller gathering.

“It’s a hard thing for a girl to do, but there are girls all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing, couples all over the city that are having to do the same kind of thing,” Adler said.

When asked why the family didn’t decide to postpone the wedding indefinitely, he said: “We’re not asking people to not get married.”

A few hours after speaking with KUT, Adler released a statement saying he “regrets” his decision to travel.

“I wouldn’t travel now, didn’t over Thanksgiving and won’t over Christmas,” he wrote. “But my fear is that this travel, even having happened during a safer period, could be used by some as justification for risky behavior. In hindsight, and even though it violated no order, it set a bad example for which I apologize.”

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Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Updates For December

Can you believe that 2020 is almost over? If you’re planning an end-of-year trip for the holidays, there are some travel restrictions to know about. Much of the world is inaccessible for leisure travel, but it’s still possible to leave home and sightsee. Only essential travel reasons may be exempt from various travel restrictions.

New York

New York has some of the strictest travel restrictions in the contiguous U.S. 48 states. Most travelers, including New York residents out-of-state for at least 24 hours, will need to quarantine for 14 days or take two qualifying diagnostic tests.

Specifically, “travelers entering New York State from a noncontiguous state, U.S. territory or CDC level 2 or level 3 country,” will need to provide proof of a valid negative diagnostic test upon arrival to the Empire State. This test must be taken within three days before arriving in New York.

The traveler must then quarantine for the first three days and take a second test on the fourth day. The follow-up test must have a negative result to waive the rest of the 14-day quarantine.

If you don’t have a qualifying negative test result before arriving in New York, you will need to quarantine for the full 14 days.

Travelers and residents from bordering states like New Jersey and Connecticut can be exempt from these quarantine and testing rules. However, travelers that only leave New York for less than 24 hours will need to complete the traveler health form and take a diagnostic test four days after returning.

New Jersey

New Jersey strongly encourages a 14-day self-quarantine for those entering from any state or territory outside the immediate region. While a self-quarantine is optional, compliance is expected.

You do not have to quarantine if you arrive from New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania.


Most travelers and returning residents will need to self-quarantine when entering Connecticut. Travelers will need to complete a traveler health form or face a potential $500 fine.

You will need to self-quarantine when you arrive from a state under these conditions:

  • Arrive from a state other than New York, New Jersey or Rhode Island
  • Positive case rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents
  • Higher than a 10% positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average
  • A country with a CDC Level 3 travel health notice

The list of impacted states updates on Tuesdays. As of December 1, 2020, Hawaii is the only noncontiguous state or territory that waives the self-quarantine.

It’s possible to waive the quarantine with qualifying negative diagnostic tests. The first test can be taken up to 72 hours before arriving in Connecticut or after arriving. The negative test results will need to be

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Covid-19 Live News and Updates

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A student under quarantine in a dorm at Ohio State University last month.
Credit…Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Citing the spiraling rise in coronavirus cases nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned Americans not to travel over the holidays, and outlined two ways to shorten the recommended quarantine times for people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus, especially those who may choose to travel anyway.

“The best thing for Americans to do during the holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” said Dr. Henry Walke, who oversees day to day management of pandemic response for the agency.

The C.D.C. previously had recommended a 14-day quarantine period following potential exposure, and officials said they still supported the longer period as the safest option. But officials also recommended two alternatives.

Those without symptoms may end quarantine after seven days, followed by a negative test for the virus, or after 10 days without a negative test, agency officials said at a news briefing. P.C.R. or rapid tests are acceptable, the agency said, and should be taken within 48 hours of the end of the quarantine period.

“We can safely reduce the length of quarantine, but accepting that there is a small residual risk that a person who is leaving quarantine early could transmit to someone else if they became infected,” said Dr. John Brooks, the C.D.C.’s chief medical officer for the Covid-19 response.

(Quarantine refers to people who are well but may become ill; isolation refers to those known to be ill.)

Agency officials also recommended that Americans who are traveling get tested for the infection one to three days before the trip and again three to five days after returning. Returnees should eliminate nonessential activities for seven days.

A shortened quarantine period may be more palatable to people, with reduced economic impact, and may improve compliance, officials said. But the more relaxed guidance may lead to some infections being missed.

Studies have found that the median incubation period for the virus is five days. But symptoms do not develop in a few patients until nearly two weeks after exposure.

C.D.C. officials also warned strongly against travel over the Christmas holiday.

Dr. Cindy Friedman, chief of the travelers health branch at the C.D.C., reiterated that with cases rising, “the safest thing to do is to postpone travel and stay home,” saying that even a small percentage of infected travelers could “translate into hundreds of thousands of additional infections.”

“Travel is a door-to-door experience that can spread the virus during the journey and into communities where travelers visit or live,” she said. “We know it’s a hard decision, and people need time to prepare and have discussions with family and friends and to make these decisions.”

“Our recommendations are trying to give them the tools they need to make these tough choices,” she said, adding that people should take the time before the Christmas holidays to

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Covid-19 Live Updates: Thanksgiving Travel Drops as Americans Rethink Rituals

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Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

Americans have agonized over Thanksgiving this year, weighing skyrocketing case numbers and blunt warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention against the need, after a grim and worrying year, to gather with family for a traditional, carbohydrate-laden ritual.

Around 27 percent of Americans plan to dine with people outside their household, according to interviews conducted by the global data-and-survey firm Dynata at the request of The New York Times.

Views on whether to risk Thanksgiving gatherings appear to track closely with political views, with respondents identifying as Democrats far less likely to be planning a multihousehold holiday.

Megan Baldwin, 42, had planned to drive from New York to Montana to be with her parents, but last week, she canceled her plans.

“I thought I would get tested and take all the precautions to be safe, but how could I risk giving it to my parents, who are in their 70s?” she said, adding that they were not happy with the decision.

“All they want is to see their grandkids,” she said, “but I couldn’t forgive myself if we got them sick. It’s not worth it.”

Others decided to take the plunge, concluding that the emotional boost of being together outweighed the risk of becoming infected.

“We all agreed that we need this — we need to be together during this crazy, lonely time, and we are just going to be careful and hope that we will all be OK,” said Martha Dillon, who will converge with relatives from four different states on her childhood home in Kentucky.

Thanksgiving travel is clearly down compared with 2019.

The AAA has forecast a 10 percent overall decline in Thanksgiving travel compared with last year, the largest year-on-year drop since the recession of 2008. But the change is far smaller, around 4.3 percent, for those traveling by car, who make up a huge majority of those who plan to travel — roughly 47.8 million people.

About 917,000 people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Monday, less than half of the number seen on the same day in 2019, according to federal data published on Tuesday.

Airlines are struggling from a dramatic decline in demand that has forced them to drop flights and make big capacity cuts, said Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for Airlines for America, an industry trade group. “Currently, cancelations are spiking, and carriers are burning $180 million in cash every day just to stay operating,” she said. “The economic impact on U.S. airlines, their employees, travelers and the shipping public is staggering.”

Demand for travel by train is down more sharply, at about 20 percent of what it was last year, said Jason Abrams, a spokesman for Amtrak.

Susan Katz, 73, said she canceled plans

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Air Travel Rises Ahead of Thanksgiving, Despite Warnings: Live Updates

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Credit…David Santiago/Miami Herald, via Associated Press

More travelers were screened at airport security checkpoints on Sunday than on any day since the pandemic took hold in March, a worrying sign that people flying to visit their families for Thanksgiving could increase the spread of the coronavirus.

A little more than one million people were screened by the Transportation Security Administration on Sunday, according to federal data published on Monday. That number is about half of what it was in 2019, but it represents a big increase from the spring, when less than a half a million people flew on any given day.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, have been strongly discouraging holiday travel for fear that it would increase the number of new infections, which have surged in recent weeks as the weather turns colder and more people spend time indoors.

Airlines have said that flying is safe because of the precautions the industry has put in place, like high-end air filtration. They also point to the relatively few published cases of the coronavirus being spread during a flight. But the science on in-flight safety is far from settled, and travelers would still be at risk of contracting or spreading the virus at airports and once they are at their destination.

The increase in travel during the holidays has been encouraging for airlines. But it won’t be enough to offset the deep losses they have suffered during the pandemic. The nation’s largest airlines have collectively reported tens of billions of dollars in losses so far this year, and analysts expect demand to remain weak for a couple of years or more. The industry is hoping that the incoming Biden administration and Congress will give airlines more aid early next year.

Credit…Amr Alfiky/The New York Times

Black Friday has long been the biggest shopping day of the year, with doorbuster deals inspiring some die-hard shoppers to camp out all night in front of big-box stores.

But as coronavirus cases climb across the country and public health officials beg people to avoid crowds, will stores still try to lure customers inside? And if they do, will customers take the bait and show up?

“This year is going to be a Black Friday unlike any other,” said Kelly O’Keefe, managing partner at the Brand Federation, a consulting firm. “We’re not going to have crowds knocking down Walmart’s door this year. There will be fewer people in stores and there will be much better management of those people.”

Here’s what some of the biggest retailers are doing to keep customers safe on Black Friday this year:

Best Buy said it was selling this year’s new gaming consoles online only, to avoid lines

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‘Travel Bubble’ Between Hong Kong And Singapore Is Delayed Amid COVID-19 Spike : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

In this Oct. 9, 2020, photo, people walk down a street in Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong have postponed a planned air travel bubble meant to boost tourism amid a spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.

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In this Oct. 9, 2020, photo, people walk down a street in Hong Kong. Singapore and Hong Kong have postponed a planned air travel bubble meant to boost tourism amid a spike in coronavirus infections in Hong Kong.

Kin Cheung/AP

An arrangement to allow air travelers between Hong Kong and Singapore to forgo quarantine has been delayed after Hong Kong reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

Hong Kong announced Saturday a delay of at least two weeks to the air travel bubble as the city confirmed 43 new cases — including 13 cases that officials have not been able to trace.

The bubble, which was originally slated to start Sunday, would allow a limited number of air travelers to avoid quarantine. To qualify, passengers would have to pass two coronavirus tests — both before departure and upon arrival — and fly on one of a select number of flights.

Both cities currently require most travelers to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Edward Yau, said the postponement was the “responsible way” forward, the Associated Press reported.

“For any scheme to be successful, they must fulfill the condition of securing public health, and also make sure that both sides would be comfortable and feel safe about the scheme,” Yau said.

Yau said enacting the air travel bubble would be revisited early next month, Reuters reported.

Singapore ‘s transport minister, Ong Ye Kung, said in a Facebook post that the postponement is a “sober reminder that the COVID-19 virus is still with us.”

“I can fully understand the disappointment and frustration of travellers who have planned their trips. But we think it is better to defer from a public health standpoint,” he wrote.

The South China Morning Post reported that the plan would have allowed up to 200 people to fly each day without a quarantine period.

As part of the arrangement, both Hong Kong and Singapore had agreed to suspend the program for two weeks if the number of local untraceable cases exceeded five on a rolling seven-day average. As of Saturday, Hong Kong was at nearly four, according to the AP.

Hong Kong, alongside Singapore, was lauded by public health officials for its response early into the pandemic. In recent days, however, the city has seen a spike in new infections.

At least one health official has warned of an upcoming “fourth wave” of coronavirus cases, Bloomberg News reports, adding that more social restrictions were planned to help contain outbreaks.

In total, Hong Kong has confirmed more than 5,500 cases of the coronavirus according to Johns Hopkins University. Singapore has confirmed more than 58,100 cases.

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Don’t Travel For Thanksgiving, CDC Warns : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

An airport employee walks through Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., earlier this year. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Americans should refrain from traveling for the upcoming holiday.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

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An airport employee walks through Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., earlier this year. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that Americans should refrain from traveling for the upcoming holiday.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is strongly recommending that people stay home for Thanksgiving to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. With the holiday one week away, the agency issued a statement that taking a trip to see loved ones is simply inadvisable right now.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC explained in an advisory released Thursday. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”

The better bet, the CDC advised, was for people instead to spend Thanksgiving with the folks with whom they have been living for the two weeks leading up to the holiday.

“If people have not been actively living with you for the 14 days before you’re celebrating, they’re not considered a member of your household,” Erin Sauber-Schatz of the CDC said at a news briefing Thursday. “And therefore you need to take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home.”

If you do travel, the CDC advised that you take a series of steps to protect yourself and others — including wearing a mask, staying 6 feet from others and frequently washing your hands. But the agency added: “Celebrating virtually or with the people you live with is the safest choice this Thanksgiving.”

The agency’s recommendation came less than a day after the U.S. marked a grim milestone in its fight to slow the spread of the coronavirus. As of Wednesday, more than 250,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

What’s more, the spread of the disease appears to be exploding in the U.S., with several dozen states shattering records for daily new confirmed cases in the past week alone. The virus appears to be savaging the middle of the country, in particular, with records for new cases per capita being set from Montana to Nebraska.

Roughly 1 million new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the U.S. in the past week.

The dire numbers already had people reconsidering their Thanksgiving plans before the rollout of the new CDC recommendations, as NPR’s David Schaper noted. AAA estimated that fewer Americans would be traveling for the holiday than last year — though this year’s number still hovers around 50 million people.

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Covid-19 News: Live Updates – The New York Times

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Credit…Annie Flanagan for The New York Times

As the United States struggles with surging coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday urged Americans not to travel during the Thanksgiving holiday and to consider canceling plans to spend time with relatives outside their households.

The new guidance states clearly that “the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with,” and that gathering with friends and even family members who do not live with you increases the chances of becoming infected with Covid-19 or the flu or transmitting the virus.

Officials said they were strengthening their recommendations against travel because of a startling surge in infections in just the past week. As of Wednesday, the seven-day average of new cases across the country had surpassed more than 162,000, an increase of 77 percent from the average two weeks earlier.

“Amid this critical phase, the C.D.C. is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” said Dr. Henry Walke, Covid-19 incident manager at the agency, during a news briefing.

“We’re alarmed,” he added, citing an exponential increase in Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. “What we’re concerned about is not only the actual mode of travel — whether it’s an airplane or bus or car, but also the transportation hubs we’re concerned about, as well.”

“When people are in line” to get on a bus or plane, social distancing becomes far more difficult and viral transmission becomes more likely, he said.

The agency’s overriding concern is that the holidays may accelerate the spread of the virus, C.D.C. officials said. Older family members are at great risk for complications and death should they contract the virus.

Officials made the pleas to avoid travel even as they acknowledged that the prolonged outbreak has taken a toll on families, and that people are craving connection after months of isolation.

But Dr. Walke warned family get-togethers — especially those that bring different households together — could inadvertently lead to tragic outcomes.

“The tragedy that could happen is one of your family members, from coming together in a family gathering, could wind up hospitalized and severely ill and could die. We don’t want to see that happen,” Dr. Walke said. “This year we’re asking people to be as safe as possible.”

College students returning home for the holiday should isolate themselves and limit interactions with friends on campus before their return, and once home, they should try to limit interactions with family members, trying to interact outside rather than indoors and wear masks indoors if a family member has a chronic condition that places them at risk.

Dr. Walke said he himself is not going to visit his parents, though he has not seen them in many months and they are imploring him to come home, and he has encouraged his own adult and

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Should Go Or Stay Home? : Coronavirus Updates : NPR

Thanksgiving Day is next week and that usually means long lines in crowded airports and traffic jams on the nation’s highways, but that probably won’t be true this year due to the coronavirus.

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Thanksgiving Day is next week and that usually means long lines in crowded airports and traffic jams on the nation’s highways, but that probably won’t be true this year due to the coronavirus.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Thanksgiving Day is next week and that usually means long lines in crowded airports and traffic jams on the nation’s highways, but that probably won’t be true this year. The recent huge spike in Covid-19 cases has many people rethinking their travel plans.

For Aleta Nissen, her husband Dave, and their 14-year-old daughter, it’s usually a pretty simple decision. They pack up the car and drive from their home in Bend, Ore., three and a half hours to Dave’s mother’s house in the southern part of the state. But this year?

“We’ve been back and forth for about a month, deciding whether it’s really doable,” Nissen says.

On the one hand, they make the same trip every year and with the rapidly spreading coronavirus, it might not be worth the risk.

“I’m more of the mind, let’s skip. Let’s skip this year,” Nissen says. “You know, it’s (just) one year.”

But on the other hand, it’s been a rough year and the family could benefit from getting away and spending time with relatives for a few days.

“We haven’t seen any of his family for a long time,” says Nissen, adding that her daughter started high school this fall remotely and really wants to see family. “It’s this balance, isn’t it, of this, kind of, the relationship and the mental health aspect of being able to see the people you love and still trying to play it safe.”

It would be a small group gathering of just two households and six people total over a couple of days, so Nissen agreed that they can go, under one condition.

“Well, if we’re gonna do it, then I think the only way to do it would be all get tested beforehand,” she says.

So if all test negative for Covid-19, the Nissens are going. The plans are set. Right?

“It still could change,” Nissen said, with a laugh. “It’s changed multiple times since the month ago or so when we started talking about the options and it could change again.”

And the Nissens are not alone. It appears that millions of other Americans are also going back and forth about whether or not to travel for Thanksgiving.

The AAA estimates that close to 50 million Americans will go out of town this Thanksgiving, or at least they’re planning to travel.

“But we know not all of them are going to follow through with those plans,” says AAA spokesperson Jeanette McGee. “We know not all of those people are gonna to travel. And that’s

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