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Tipsheet

Over 4,000 Flights Globally Have Been Cancelled Due to COVID-19 Surge and Weather

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File

Over 4,000 flights worldwide have been cancelled on New Year's Day due to weather conditions and the ongoing Wuhan coronavirus surge, the Associated Press reported.

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According to the AP’s report, by early afternoon Saturday on the East Coast, more than 2,500 U.S. flights and over 4,300 flights globally were cancelled, according to flight tracking service FlightAware. 

“That is the highest single-day toll yet since just before Christmas, when airlines began blaming staffing shortages on increasing COVID-19 infections among crews. More than 12,000 U.S. flights have been canceled since Dec. 24,” the report stated.

At Chicago O’Hare International Airport, specifically, over 800 flights have been cancelled. At Chicago’s Midway Airport, nearly 300 flights have been cancelled. Denver, Detroit, and Newark each had at least 100 cancelled flights. 

“Sunday, when many travelers plan to return home from holiday trips, is shaping up to be difficult, too,” the report added. “A winter storm with heavy snow is expected to march toward the Northeast as a new storm hits the Pacific Northwest, according to the National Weather Service.”

“Airlines say they are taking steps to reduce cancellations,” the AP stated in their report. “United is offering to pay pilots triple or more of their usual wages for picking up open flights through mid-January. Southwest and others have also raised premium pay for some workers.”

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This week, President Biden told reporters at Rehoboth Beach in Delaware that he would impose a domestic air travel vaccine mandate “when I get a recommendation from the medical team.” As I covered, Biden’s remarks came after his chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said in an interview with MSNBC could increase vaccination rates in the United States and create stronger protection for travelers on flights. 

“When you make vaccination a requirement, that’s another incentive to get more people vaccinated,” Fauci said in the interview. “If you want to do that with domestic flights, I think that’s something that seriously should be considered.”

However, two officials from the Biden administration told the Associated Press that a domestic air travel vaccine mandate “could trigger a host of logistical and legal concerns.”

Following Fauci and Biden’s remarks over an air travel vaccine mandate, Republican Rep. Greg Murphy, who represents North Carolina’s 3rd congressional district, said in an interview with Fox Business that there should not be an air travel vaccine mandate as there is no vaccine mandate for immigrants entering the southern border.

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“The sad thing is, if you have to be mandated to fly on a plane, what about if you walk in over the border in the southern United States, is there any mandate there?” Murphy said in the interview.

“I don’t know what he’s going to do. I don’t think it should be done,” Murphy added about the air travel vaccine mandates. 

“The sad thing is, this virus is here. It’s going to have to mutate into a form that it is not virulent anymore until we get out of the pandemic,” he continued. “But these mandates and these forcing of businesses and these forcing of schools, especially, to close do nothing but hurt the American people.”

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