Pre-pandemic travel numbers return to US as cases climb

Clinking wine glasses at Thanksgiving
Clinking wine glasses at Thanksgiving

Gulcin Ragiboglu / iStock

In US COVID-19 developments, Northern and Midwestern states report brisk disease activity as the nation returned to pre-pandemic holiday travel levels ahead of Thanksgiving

Despite rising case counts across the country, this past weekend the number of people flying in the United States was double what it was for the same days last year, and only 8% lower than the same days in 2019, the Associated Press reports.

As the holiday season begins tomorrow, experts say Americans are planning pre-pandemic levels of travel.

COVID cases up 25%

In the past 2 weeks, new cases have risen by 25% across the country, and in 14 states, the rise has been by 40% or more, according to tracking maintained by the New York Times.

The United States reported 92,609 new COVID-19 cases yesterday and 1.426 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. The 7-day average of new daily cases is 95,700, with 1,218 deaths, according to the Washington Post tracker.

Total US cases have topped 48 million, and COVID-19 deaths have climbed to 774,416, according to the Johns Hopkins online tracker.

Northern, Midwest states hit hard

Northern and Midwest states continue to report high levels of virus activity. Michigan has become the nation's latest COVID hot spot, with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths rising to levels far higher than the national average, the Washington Post reports.

Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota also report the biggest spikes in the country, with hospitalization rates starting to rise. Hospitalization rates have lagged behind new daily case rates through the pandemic.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker has instructed some hospitals in the state to reduce non-urgent, scheduled procedures amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and a strain on hospital capacity, the Boston Globe reports.

Vaccinations on the rise

The Transportation Security Administration reported that roughly 93% of its employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 or have qualified for an exemption, and that holiday travel will not be affected by the federal employee vaccine mandate, according to The Hill.

The Biden administration yesterday asked a federal appeals court to lift a court-ordered stay on the workplace COVID-19 vaccine mandate, or alternately to allow a masking-and-testing requirement, Reuters reports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention COVID Data Tracker shows 59% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 69.5% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 18.7% of fully vaccinated Americans have received a booster dose.

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