Tag: Warns

Airlines try to thread the needle as CDC warns against holiday travel

The airline and travel industry are wrestling with how to promote their struggling sectors in the run-up to the usually-busy Thanksgiving holiday, against the backdrop of stern new CDC recommendations released Thursday warning to avoid travel as coronavirus cases spiral uncontrolled.



a group of people sitting at a airport: A passenger carries her luggage through a nearly deserted terminal at the Tampa International Airport in Florida.


© Chris O’Meara/AP Photo
A passenger carries her luggage through a nearly deserted terminal at the Tampa International Airport in Florida.

“CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period,” Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, said during a briefing Thursday, adding that the health agency is especially concerned about “transportation hubs.”

The agency’s recommendation lines up with a growing number of new state restrictions and warnings in response to record numbers of new cases and more than 250,000 U.S. deaths, as well as disease experts’ concerns that even small indoor gatherings of people from different locations could spread the virus further.

Thanksgiving is typically a banner time of year for the airline industry, which has seen rock bottom revenues in 2020. While the volume of travelers will be much less than in previous years, air carriers have still been hoping for a healthy uptick.

During a press conference held a week ago, Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, said “I hope you’re flying somewhere” for Thanksgiving. “I am,” he continued.

“Flying is safe, I will state that categorically,” Calio said.

But by Thursday, as Covid cases and spread spiked ever higher, Calio had adopted a more cautious tone, though he still insisted the risk of being infected on board a plane is low. On a joint holiday travel call with TSA, Calio said airlines want travelers to “make an informed decision.”

He suggested they look to research like a recent Harvard study that found that with a layered approach — including social distancing, masks and air filtration — the risk of coronavirus transmission aboard a plane is low.

Several additional studies have found the same, although the science is far from settled and other researchers have found suspected cases of transmission on board planes.

The mood was more grim at a U.S. Travel Association press conference later in the day. “We’re in an unprecedented and dangerous time,” said Michael Parkinson, a doctor who serves on an advisory panel for the group.

Roger Dow, the association’s president, said “I’d rather have a little less travel now to come back more quickly down the road.” However, the 74-year-old Dow said he himself will be traveling from Florida to Maryland for Thanksgiving.

TSA chief David Pekoske repeatedly side-stepped questions about whether the agency would discourage holiday travel, saying travelers should “make their own decisions.”

“The decision to travel is up to the traveler,” he said. “And my best advice to the traveler is to consider the recommendations that the Centers for Disease Control have made, that their local public health officials have made and any consultations that they think are appropriate with their own physicians.”

TSA expects to see travel volumes that are consistent with the Columbus Day weekend,

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CDC warns Americans not to travel to Mexico as airlines see increased demand

Last month, Mexico was the “clear leader” for U.S.-International air travel.

In the past two weeks, Mexico surpassed 100,000 deaths due to the virus and reported over 1 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic. The agency assigned Mexico its highest advisory, saying travel there “may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19.”

Data from travel itinerary app TripIt showed while air travel from the U.S. to Mexico in December is down overall, “the share of U.S.-origin flight reservations to the country have increased 179 percent year-over-year.”

PHOTO: Members of the military make sure passengers are following the COVID-19 rules at Cancun International Airport on Nov. 19, 2020 in Cancun, Mexico.

Brittany Bamrick, 31, plans to take her first international trip in January since the pandemic began. Her company bought out a “remote” yoga retreat center in Todos Santos, Mexico, that allows a maximum of 30 guests.

“I feel that I know the situation I’m getting into and assume the risk,” she said. “It’s an optional retreat, so if anyone wants to cancel, they can, it’s what you feel comfortable with.”

Bamrick and a majority of the people headed to the yoga retreat live in San Diego, California.

“It’s like going into a neighboring state for us,” she said. “It’s a shorter flight than others I’ve taken, so I almost feel better going to Mexico.”

Ashley Lewis, 36, has traveled to Mexico three times since March.

“I felt more safe there than I would at a Target or market in Los Angeles,” Lewis told ABC News. “The resorts were secluded, they weren’t selling the hotels to 100 percent capacity, and everyone was wearing masks and abiding by the rules. So much in those areas are dependent on tourism, and you could tell they were working incredibly hard to make the guests feel safe.”

Lewis says she is trying to take advantage of being able to work from anywhere – also traveling to Hawaii, Turks and Caicos, and Las Vegas during the pandemic.

“When I come home from a trip I quarantine in my home for a week or week and a half,” Lewis explained. “Then I go get that test and that’s for peace of mind that I can see my family without the fear of

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Thanksgiving Travel Surge Could Push Covid Death Toll To 4,000 A Day, Warns White House Testing Czar

Topline

The country’s top public health officials are sounding the alarm over a surge in travel over Thanksgiving weekend, with the White House coronavirus task force’s testing chief warning that it could lead to a significant increase in an already-rising death rate.

Key Facts

“A lot depends on this weekend,” Adm. Brett Giroir told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, deeming it possible that the U.S. could soon reach 4,000 deaths per day.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci shared similarly dire predictions. 

“We may see a surge upon a surge,” said Fauci on ABC’s “This Week,” adding: “We don’t want to frighten people but that’s just the reality.” 

All three stressed that the next week will prove critical in whether the pandemic worsens in the U.S., urging Americans to follow federal and state guidance.

Crucial Quote 

“This weekend with all the travel is really concerning to all of us,” said Giroir. “This is a really dangerous time … If we do the right thing—universal mask wearing, avoiding indoor spaces—we can flatten this.” 

Key Background

Public health experts long warned that the holidays could serve as a tipping point for the country, which entered them with surging cases, hospitalizations and deaths. On Thanksgiving’s eve, both Texas and California broke the nationwide record for the most coronavirus infections reported in a state in a single day, while the death toll reached its highest level since March at 2,300 new deaths. Despite guidance against traveling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Transportation Security Administration figures show that more people boarded planes on the day before Thanksgiving than any day since March. 

Big Number 

1,070,967. That’s how many people crossed TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, according to TSA data. 

Further Reading 

“U.S. air travel hit post-March peak on day before Thanksgiving” (NBC News)

“State-By-State Guide To Quarantining After Thanksgiving Travel” (Forbes)

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Fauci warns of ‘superimposed’ coronavirus surge after Thanksgiving travel

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, warned that the travel-heavy Thanksgiving holiday could lead to a “superimposed” surge in Covid-19 cases as the nation heads into December.

Appearing on NBC News’ “Meet the Press” Sunday, Fauci said that public health officials “tried to get the word out for people, as difficult as it is, to really not have large gatherings” during the holiday due to concerns that the celebrations could exacerbate the coronavirus spread.

“What we expect, unfortunately, as we go for the next couple of weeks into December, is that we might see a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in,” he said.

“I don’t want to frighten people except to say it’s not too late at all for us to do something about this,” he added, urging Americans to be careful when they travel back home and upon arriving, and to take proven steps like social distancing and wearing masks.

It can sometimes take two weeks for infected people to develop symptoms, and asymptomatic people can spread the virus without knowing they have it. So Fauci said the “dynamics of an outbreak” show a three-to-five-week lag between serious mitigation efforts and the actual curbing of infection rates.

While the first wave of vaccinations could start in America within a matter of weeks, Fauci said that, for now, “we are going to have to make decisions as a nation, state, city and family that we are in a very difficult time, and we’re going to have to do the kinds of restrictions of things we would have liked to have done, particularly in this holiday season, because we’re entering into what’s really a precarious situation.”

Covid-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. have been accelerating in recent weeks — there have been more than 4 million cases and 35,000 deaths attributed to the virus in the month of November alone. Overall, America has had 13.3 million coronavirus cases and 267,000 deaths attributable to the virus, according to NBC News analysis.

Despite a mid-November warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encouraging Americans not to travel during Thanksgiving, air-travel broke pandemic records, with 6.8 million people traveling through airports in the seven days ahead of the holiday.

The already accelerating caseload, combined with the potential for another surge of cases, comes as hospitals across the country are sounding the alarm about overloading the system’s capacity.

Fauci said that he is concerned about the nation’s hospitals, noting that he received calls last night from colleagues across the country “pleading for advice” amid the “significant stresses on the hospital and health care delivery systems.”

While he explicitly said he was not calling for a national lockdown, Fauci said at the local level, Americans could “blunt” the surge’s effects on the hospital system by taking mitigation steps “short of locking down so we don’t precipitate the necessity of locking down.”

The surge in cases comes amid promising news about a coronavirus vaccine, with both

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Cuomo Warns of Major Surge; NYC Plans Checkpoints: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — New York City will have vehicle checkpoints at key bridges and crossings during the Thanksgiving holiday period, and will strictly enforce its coronavirus travel quarantine. Governor Andrew Cuomo warned that the state could face at a least a 20% surge in new infections.

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European executives are losing confidence in the outlook as virus restrictions threaten economic growth. People will probably have to take precautions against Covid-19 for the next year as countries need time to vaccinate their populations, the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said.

The airline industry’s main trade group expects record losses to balloon further in 2021 amid lackluster travel demand, and Deutsche Bank AG may allow most employees to permanently work from home two days a week. Hong Kong will shut bars and clubs after a recent spike in cases.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases pass 59.3 million; deaths 1.4 millionAstra shot that works better in smaller doses raises questionsThe best and the worst places to be in the coronavirus eraU.S. unwinds in-person education with closings in over 30 statesVaccine breakthroughs put Covid protection within reachWorld economy risks buckling into 2021 despite vaccine nearingWhy making a Covid vaccine is only the first hurdle: QuickTake

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click CVID on the terminal for global data on coronavirus cases and deaths.



chart: The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions


© Bloomberg
The euro area is slipping into a second contraction because of virus restrictions

Ireland Has Fewest Cases in 2 Months (1:05 p.m. NY)

Ireland reported the fewest new coronavirus cases in two months, ahead of a easing of current restrictions. There were 226 newly diagnosed cases on Tuesday, the health ministry said, the least since Sept. 21. The government is expected to decide on loosening the current lockdown later this week, with restrictions due to expire on Dec. 1. Ireland also formally introduced fines for breaches of coronavirus rules Tuesday, including for not wearing masks and for hosting or attending house parties.

French ICU Patients Seen Falling Below 1,500 Mid-December (12:30 p.m. NY)

France’s number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care is forecast to fall below 3,000 by the end of November and below 1,500 by mid-December, according to projections by Institut Pasteur, Les Echos reports. Health authorities on Monday reported 4,454 ICU patients. Close to 11% of the French population has been infected with Covid, while in the Paris region it’s close to 21%, according to the research institute.

N.Y.’s Cuomo Warns of Major Surge (11:55 a.m. NY)

New York state is headed toward a major surge in coronavirus cases, at least a 20% increase over the holiday season, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday.

At the low end, experts say the state could see a 20% increase in cases between now and January, with the positive test rate reaching 12.46%, Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Long Island.

If the state sees more, emergency hospital beds would be needed, he said. “That’s a problem,” Cuomo said, urging New

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Travel stocks are ‘very vulnerable to a sell-off’ heading into Thanksgiving, trader warns

The travel trade is in trouble.

Trading Nation: Travel stocks are sinking after CDC’s Thanksgiving warning

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Airline, hotel and cruise line stocks slid on Friday ahead of Thanksgiving week after the CDC issued a warning on traveling for the holiday amid climbing Covid case counts.

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Expedia data released before the CDC’s announcement showed 60% of U.S. consumers said they would not be traveling for Thanksgiving. Those who will travel will go an average of 250 miles away from home, down from 450 miles a year ago, the data revealed.

Travel stocks’ road to recovery will likely be a bumpy ride, according o Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX strategy at BK Asset Management.

“The market is discounting an absolutely perfect scenario that hasn’t even occurred yet, which is the idea that a vaccine is going to immunize everybody and we’re all going to go back to travel,” Schlossberg said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.”

“Between now and then, all of these companies are going to have a very, very hard time surviving and actually making any profits,” he said. “To me, a lot of these names have been overbought at this point, and I think they’re actually very vulnerable to a sell-off as they see very, very little engagement from the consumer.”

Schlossberg warned that consumer activity risks “retrenching” in the coming weeks amid the nationwide rise in Covid cases.

“At this point, the behavior of the consumer is going to take much longer than the market thinks to come back for these companies to really perform well,” he said.

One travel play seems to have been “vaccinated” before the rest of the industry, Piper Sandler’s Craig Johnson said in the same interview.

“Look at the JETS ETF,” the firm’s senior technical research analyst said. “I think most investors are looking beyond this near-term travel season.”



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“The first chart is I look at the correlation of the JETS ETF to the coronavirus cases,” Johnson said. “Back in the June-July time frame when there was a spike in cases, you actually saw that ETF trade lower. Now, you’ve got the exact opposite happening that there is a vaccine out, and you’re seeing that cases are moving up sharply higher and yet you’re seeing the ETF … move higher, too.”

To Johnson, that meant investors didn’t care much about how long a full-fledged comeback in the travel space might take.

“They’re … focused on that vaccination, and a move above $21 would open up a new leg higher on the JETS ETF, perhaps up to around the $30 range,” he said.

Schlossberg didn’t quite agree.

“To me, the runaway trade in JETS is just going to be a fade at this point,” he said.

JETS closed about 1.5% lower on Friday at $20.76 a share.

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‘All people’ should avoid travel on cruise ships, CDC warns

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has upped its warning on cruise ships, now advising that “all people avoid travel on cruise ships.”



a large ship in a body of water: The current sailing was carrying 53 passengers and 66 crew, Sloan said.


© Gene Sloan/The Points Guy
The current sailing was carrying 53 passengers and 66 crew, Sloan said.

The federal agency now classifies cruise travel as “Level 4: Very High Level of COVID-19” and clarifies that this includes river cruises and applies worldwide.

At the end of October, the CDC lifted its months-long ban on cruise ships operating in and out of US ports.

The agency then issued a Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, a document outlining the detailed steps that cruise lines must implement before they can get permission to recommence regular voyages, including crew testing and successful “simulated voyages” designed “to replicate real world onboard conditions of cruising.”

While the majority of major cruise companies have canceled voyages in US waters until 2021, some voyages have recommenced elsewhere.

Cruise operations in the Mediterranean restarted over the summer, albeit with reduced passenger capacity and a more limited itinerary.

Earlier this month, SeaDream 1, the first cruise ship to depart from a Caribbean port since the spring, was hit by a slew of Covid cases, despite a pre-boarding testing policy. Seven passengers and two crew members tested positive for the virus.

The outbreak put into doubt the ability of testing alone to combat the spread of coronavirus on cruises.

As SeaDream 1 can only carry 112 guests, the ship didn’t have to follow the CDC’s advice on cruising — as well as rigorous testing, the CDC also advises compulsory mask-wearing and social distancing.

Passenger Gene Sloan, a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, who took the image of the SeaDream 1 above, told CNN that initially no passengers or crew members were wearing face masks on board. Crew told Sloan they weren’t necessary since the ship was a Covid-free “bubble.” A mask policy was reportedly later implemented.

SeaDream Yacht Club has since canceled the rest of its 2020 voyages.

The new CDC guidance specifies that “passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip.”

Even if travelers test negative once they return home, they are advised to stay home for seven days. If they don’t get tested, they should stay home for 14 days.

The agency’s advice is that “for most travelers, cruise ship travel is voluntary and should be rescheduled for a future date.”

But despite CDC warnings, many cruise lovers are excited to cruising again. Major cruise line Royal Caribbean said its been inundated by travelers looking to sign up for its trial cruise scheme, which is still in its planning stages.

Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, said in a Facebook post that 100,000 people had registered interest so far.

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CDC warns against cruise travel, ups international flight guidelines

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Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95% of the cruise industry, introduced mandatory requirements to be able to set sail again.

USA TODAY

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a Level 4 travel notice on Saturday advising that “all people” should avoid travel on cruise ships worldwide because “the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.” 

“Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships,” the organization said on its website.

The CDC added that for passengers who may be considered at increased risk, the warning is “especially” applicable.

“Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested 3-5 days after your trip AND stay home for 7 days after travel,” the CDC said. “Even if you test negative, stay home for the full 7 days.”

For passengers who don’t get tested, the CDC recommended staying home for 14 days.

A similar update was issued Saturday for international air travel, recommending that Americans who are choosing to fly out of the country get tested before and after traveling: “1-3 days before your flight” and again “3-5 days after travel.” Even those who test negative upon return should stay home for seven days; 14 for those who do not get tested. 

“Air travel requires spending time in security lines and airport terminals, which can bring you in close contact with other people and frequently touched surfaces,” the CDC said. “Social distancing is difficult in busy airports and on crowded flights, and sitting within 6 feet of others, sometimes for hours, may increase your risk of getting COVID-19. How you get to and from the airport, such as with public transportation and ridesharing, can also increase your chances of being exposed to the virus.” 

‘Devastating impact’: Cruise industry says 254,000 American jobs, $32 billion in economic activity lost

‘CDC is putting American lives at risk’: Members of Congress call for CDC to reinstate cruise ‘no-sail’ order

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The travel notice that originally warned against cruising was posted on March 17. On Oct. 8, the CDC instituted a Level 3 warning that recommended people “defer travel” on cruise ships worldwide.

On Oct. 30, the CDC issued a “conditional sailing order” that replaced its “no-sail” order and allowed a phased-in restart of cruising in U.S. waters. That order didn’t specify when passenger cruising could restart on vessels able to carry 250 or more people and required ships to meet certain standards and complete activities such as test cruises. 

“This ‘Framework of Conditional Sailing’ lays out a pathway – a phased, deliberate and intentional pathway – toward resuming passenger services but only when it is safe, when (the cruise industry) can assure health and when they are responsible with respects of needs of crew passengers and port communities,” Dr. Martin Cetron, director of the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, told USA TODAY.

This

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Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dealt a blow to airlines and the broader travel industry Thursday by recommending Americans stay home for Thanksgiving as coronavirus cases surge in almost every state.



a group of people sitting on a suitcase: Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel


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Airlines take another hit as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

Airlines are countering that passengers are safe on planes because of precautionary measures in place, and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says people should be free to make up their minds about whether to visit family and friends during what’s typically the busiest travel holiday of the year.

“The decision to travel is up to the traveler,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said at a briefing Thursday, adding that CDC guidelines should also be taken into consideration. “It’s an individual choice to make the journey, we just want to do everything we can to do the utmost to protect passengers should they choose to make that journey.”

More than 1 million coronavirus cases were reported in the U.S. over the past seven days, the most since the pandemic started. That in turn has led to increased hospitalizations and more deaths, with the U.S. passing the quarter-million mark earlier this week.

Those case spikes are a major reason why the latest CDC guidance recommended forgoing travel at this time, saying Thanksgiving should be spent only with people living in the same household.

Airline industry executives, meanwhile, are insisting that air travel is safe, pointing to improved air quality in cabins and mandating masks for passengers and crew.

“You are safe on an airplane. The reason you are safe is because of a multi-layered approach of risk mitigation put in place,” said Nicholas Calio, CEO of Airlines for America, the main advocacy group for major U.S. airlines.

In response to the CDC’s travel warning, US Travel Association CEO Roger Dow said the agency’s guidance “further underscores the need to be really smart and highly vigilant on health and safety protocols if you’re going to choose to travel.”

Even with safety measures in place on planes, health officials are concerned that travelers will spread the virus at Thanksgiving Day gatherings and while in transit. Despite many major airlines requiring masks, airports are free to set their own rules.

Airlines are strictly enforcing their mask requirements, warning back in June that passengers who refuse to comply could be put on a carrier’s do-not-fly list.

Delta’s no-fly list includes around 550 passengers, up from 100 in July.

The airline also recently announced it will continue blocking middle seats through March to encourage social distancing.

Southwest Airlines, meanwhile, plans to resume filling those seats next month. Other airlines like United and American have not blocked middle seats during the pandemic.

AAA projected last month that 50 million Americans would travel for Thanksgiving this year, a 10 percent drop from 2019, making it the biggest one-year decline since the Great Recession in 2008.

The travel group also noted that many people will make last-minute decisions about traveling, making the CDC

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U.S. reports record 187,833 new Covid cases as CDC warns against Thanksgiving travel

  • The U.S. reported 187,833 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, a record-breaking daily count as the federal government asks Americans to remain home for Thanksgiving.
  • A record 80,698 Covid-19 patients were in the hospital on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project.
  • The U.S. death toll hit a weekly average of 1,335 people on Thursday, a figure last reported in May, according to Hopkins data.



a man walking down a street next to a car: Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) administer Covid-19 tests at a drive-thru testing site at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.


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Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) administer Covid-19 tests at a drive-thru testing site at the Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

The United States reported 187,833 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday, yet another record-breaking daily total as U.S. health officials urge Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving and states impose tighter restrictions to slow the persistent spread of the virus.

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“We’re alarmed,” Dr. Henry Walke, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Covid-19 incident manager, said during a press briefing Thursday where the agency urged people not to travel over Thanksgiving.

“One of our concerns is that as people over the holiday season get together, they may actually be bringing infections with them to that small gathering and not even know it,” he said.

The U.S. first crossed 100,000 new Covid-19 cases on the Nov. 3, Election Day, and infections have continued to climb to all-time highs ever since. The nation has reported a weekly average of 165,029 new cases every day, a record-breaking streak that’s lasted for 24 consecutive days, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.



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Unlike other peaks in the spring and summer that hit the Northeast and Sunbelt states, infectious disease experts have said the latest surge has no clear epicenter. Some state and city officials have warned that there’s so much spread, local outbreaks cannot be traced back to a single event or venue.

“I believe this is the most serious public health moment we’ve experienced since 1918 and the swine flu,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, a coronavirus advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, told CNBC’s Meg Tirrell during a Healthy Returns: The Path Forward event on Friday.

“We realize that we have a very dangerous period for the next two weeks that we’re going to have to respond to. We’re already watching our hospitals being overrun,” Osterholm said.

In the U.S., a record 80,698 Covid-19 patients were in the hospital Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, which is run by journalists at The Atlantic. Hospitals in at least 25 states are critically short of health-care workers to care for the influx of coronavirus patients, with some people traveling hundreds of miles for an open hospital bed, STAT News reported.

A handful of states and cities are closing nonessential businesses, limiting public and private gatherings and imposing curfews to try to slow the rapid spread. Some Republican leaders in Iowa, North Dakota and Utah, who have long resisted statewide mask requirements, are now ordering residents to wear

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