By Katabella Roberts
Thousands more flights were canceled across the United States on Monday amid the ongoing CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus nationwide surge in Omicron variant cases.
Around 3,259 flights were canceled in total globally yesterday, of which around 1,474 were in the United States, according to the flight-tracking website, FlightAware.
Of the 1,474 flights, 136 were pulled by Delta airlines, 108 were scrapped from United, 172 from Alaska airlines, and 93 were pulled from American airlines. Globally, 16,026 were delayed.
Thousands of flights, both national and international, have been canceled during the peak holiday season amid a surge in COVID-19 cases which airlines say have affected employees and flight crew, leading to staffing issues.
A spokesperson from United Airlines told ABC News last week that the company had been forced to cancel some flights after employees had called in sick with the virus, and said that they had notified customers in advance of them arriving at the airport.
“We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays,” the spokesperson said.
Delta Air Lines said in a statement that the “flight cancellations are due to a combination of issues, including but not limited to, potential inclement weather in some areas and the impact of the Omicron variant.”
Alaska Airlines attributed its cancellations and delays to snow and freezing weather conditions that are disrupting operations at its largest hub, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
“On Monday, we had to, unfortunately, cancel 214 mainline and regional flights. With forecasts calling for bitter cold temperatures throughout the week and snow on Thursday more flights could be canceled throughout the next several days,” the airline said in a statement.
“We’re deeply sorry to our guests for the delay in their holiday travel plans and are working hard to reposition aircraft and crews back to the West Coast to get everyone where they need to be as quickly and safely as possible,” said Constance von Muehlen, chief operating officer and executive vice president.
Last week, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said the Omicron variant accounted for more than 90 percent of COVID-19 cases in the South, Midwest, eastern Atlantic, and northern Pacific regions of the United States.
But on Monday, the CDC cut the number of days of isolation for Americans who contract COVID-19 from 10 days to five days, followed by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others, regardless of their vaccination status, reversing its previous recommendation. The agency also shortened the time that close contacts of COVID-19 need to quarantine to five days.
The agency said the decision to cut the isolation time is “motivated by science demonstrating that the majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs early in the course of illness, generally in the 1-2 days prior to onset of symptoms and the 2-3 days after.”
However, Walensky told The Associated Press on Monday that the United States will experience significantly more Omicron cases.
“Not all of those cases are going to be severe. In fact many are going to be asymptomatic,” she said. “We want to make sure there is a mechanism by which we can safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science.”
So far, one death associated with Omicron has been reported in the United States. Officials in Texas said a Harris County man in his 50s with underlying health conditions apparently died from the variant last week.
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