Despite officials’ warnings and pleas, travel over Thanksgiving is expected to hit a pandemic peak.

The nation’s health experts on Sunday pleaded with Americans to stay home over the Thanksgiving holiday and forgo any plans to travel or celebrate at large family gatherings, even as airports have recorded a significant rise in passengers.

Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease specialist, and other health experts relayed a clear message on Sunday morning news shows: with coronavirus cases surging to record levels across the country, turning nearly every state into a hot zone of transmission, the risk of getting infected, whether in transit or in even small indoor gatherings, is high.

Up to 50 million people could be traveling on roads and through airports in the United States over Thanksgiving this year, according to AAA, the biggest travel surge since the pandemic began, despite strong cautions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health authorities. A video of a packed airport in Phoenix has been circulating widely on social media. As of Sunday, 47 states — all but Hawaii, Maine and Vermont — were considered high-risk zones for viral transmission, and nationwide hospitalizations were at a record 83,227.

“Please seriously consider decisions that you make,” Dr. Fauci said on the CBS show “Face the Nation.” Encountering large numbers of people in airports and on planes is particularly dangerous, he said. Although airlines have invested in air circulation and ventilation systems to minimize viral transmission, Dr. Fauci said, “sometimes when you get a crowded plane, or you’re in a crowded airport, you’re lining up, not everybody’s wearing masks — that puts yourself at risk.”

And gathering indoors, whether you travel or not, carries risk. “When you’re eating and drinking, obviously, you have to take your mask off,” Dr. Fauci said. “We know now that those are the kinds of situations that are leading to outbreaks.”

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Center for Health Security of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, said on Fox News on Sunday that because about half of infections are spread by people who don’t have any symptoms, “you can’t assume that you don’t have the virus, and you can’t assume that the people whose home you’re about to enter don’t have the virus, at this point in our pandemic.”

He recommended celebrating Thanksgiving only with the people you live with. People who choose to visit others’ homes should spend as much time as possible outdoors and “should be wearing masks indoors when they’re together, and only removing them when they’re eating.”

In Tulsa, Okla., Victory, a megachurch, canceled a “Friendsgiving” service on Sunday that had called on members to bring a friend after it prompted an outcry, instead opting to give away boxed meals, NBC News reported. The church did not respond to a request for comment regarding its planned “Thanksgiving Day Brunch,” which, according to its website, is set to be held on Thursday in the church’s cafeteria.

Dr. Fauci and others warned that Americans’ behavior over Thanksgiving would have critical implications for

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Pence to keep up travel despite contact with infected aide

WASHINGTON (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence plans to maintain an aggressive campaign schedule this week despite his exposure to a top aide who tested positive for the coronavirus, the White House said Saturday.

Pence himself tested negative, his office said. Under Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, the vice president is considered a “close contact” of his chief of staff, Marc Short, but will not quarantine, said spokesman Devin O’Malley.

O’Malley said Pence decided to maintain his travel schedule “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit” and “in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.” Those guidelines require that essential workers exposed to someone with the coronavirus closely monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 and wear a mask whenever around other people.

O’Malley said Pence and his wife, Karen, both tested negative on Saturday “and remain in good health.”


After a day of campaigning in Florida on Saturday, Pence was seen wearing a mask as he returned to Washington aboard Air Force Two shortly after the news of Short’s diagnosis was made public. He is scheduled to hold a rally on Sunday afternoon in Kinston, NC.

Pence, who has headed the White House coronavirus task force since late February, has repeatedly found himself in an uncomfortable position balancing political concerns with the administration’s handling the pandemic that has killed more than 220,000 Americans. The vice president has advocated mask-wearing and social distancing, but often does not wear one himself and holds large political events where many people do not wear face-coverings.

By virtue of his position as vice president, Pence is considered an essential worker. The White House did not address how Pence’s political activities amounted to essential work.

Short’s diagnosis comes weeks after the coronavirus spread through the White House, infecting President Donald Trump, the first lady, and two dozen other aides, staffers and allies.

Short, Pence’s top aide and one of his closest confidants, did not travel with the vice president on Saturday.

Pence’s handling of his exposure to a confirmed positive case stands in contrast to how Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris responded when a close aide and a member of her campaign plane’s charter crew tested positive for the virus earlier this month. She took several days off the campaign trail citing her desire to act out of an abundance of caution.

Saskia Popescu, an infectious disease expert at George Mason University, called Pence’s decision to travel “grossly negligent” regardless of the stated justification that Pence is an essential worker.

“It’s just an insult to everybody who has been working in public health and public health response,” she said. “I also find it really harmful and disrespectful to the people going to the rally” and the people on Pence’s own staff who will accompany him.

“He needs to be staying home 14 days,” she added. “Campaign events are not essential.”

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A travel group report says flying is safe. The doctor whose research it cited says not so fast.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), a global airline trade group representing 290 carriers in 120 countries, published a report this month aiming to reassure grounded travelers about the future of flying. The group collected medical journal data on in-flight coronavirus cases and used it to declare that commercial flights have a “low incidence of inflight COVID-19 transmission” when masks are worn.



(Illustration by Woody Harrington for The Washington Post)


(Illustration by Woody Harrington for The Washington Post)

Following an abundance of new research, the report says, only 44 cases of coronavirus have been linked to a flight, during a period when 1.2 billion passengers traveled.

But a doctor whose work was cited in the report says that the group is misrepresenting his findings by only counting proven flight-linked cases that were published in medical journals.

“IATA is taking it to an extreme saying there’s ‘little’ risk in flying,” says David Freedman, an infectious-disease specialist at the University of Alabama whose study is cited in the IATA report. “What they want is to throw this number on the risk of flying … and we don’t know what that risk is yet. I’m not saying the risk is high, but there is some risk. It just looks like masks help a lot.”

Is it safer to fly or drive during the pandemic? 5 health experts weigh in.

The bottom line, Freedman says, is that cases linked to air travel are very difficult to scientifically prove because passengers are not usually monitored after flying and therefore are not tallied if they become sick. It’s also nearly impossible to determine whether sick passengers picked up the virus on a plane as opposed to in an airport or on the way there, he says. “And if you can’t prove it, it doesn’t end up in a journal.”

Freedman’s cited study, published in September 2020, says that “the absence of large numbers of published in-flight transmissions of SARS-CoV-2 is not definitive evidence of safety.”

While an abundance of in-flight research on covid-19 has recently come to light, Freedman is not alone in his assessment that it’s unclear if flying is a low-risk endeavor amid the pandemic.

Brad Pollock, the associate dean of public health sciences at the University of California at Davis, agrees with Freedman’s assessment of IATA’s report, calling it an “overreach.” Studies do not account for unpredictable passengers who board planes every day, he says.

“There’s movement in the cabin to consider, but also so many people improperly wear a mask below their nostrils,” Pollock says. “That’s more of an issue than what kind of mask they’re wearing. If everyone wears their mask properly on the plane, we’re going to be much better off.”

In September, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that nearly 11,000 people have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus on flights. The CDC told The Washington Post that of those in-flight exposures, “an absence of cases identified or reported is not evidence that there were no cases.” On Monday, it updated its guidance to

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Germany warns against travel to ski regions in Austria, Switzerland, Italy

By Kirsti Knolle

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany has issued travel warnings for popular ski regions in Austria, Italy and Switzerland, scrambling to contain the spread of the coronavirus as new infection numbers rose above 10,000 a day for the first time.

While infection rates in Germany are lower than in much of Europe, they have been accelerating, with a daily rise of 11,287 cases bringing the total to 392,049. Germany’s death toll stands at 9,905.

“The situation has become very serious overall,” Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases, said.

“We still have a chance to slow the spread of the pandemic,” he said. But he said people must stick to the rules and that Germany must prepare for an uncontrolled spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, German Health Minister Jens Spahn became the latest prominent politician to test positive for the virus. His spokesman said he had symptoms of a cold but no fever. Government sources said he was fit for work.

Berlin issued new travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and some Italian regions including the popular skiing region of South Tyrol.

Britain, except the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the overseas territories, is also seen as a high risk area.

Under the warnings, which take effect from Saturday, travellers returning to Germany must quarantine for 10 days. Quarantine can be lifted early, if a test taken after five days comes back negative.

The surge in Germany also prompted the Danish government to warn its citizens against travel to and from Germany, except for the border state of Schleswig Holstein.

Germany’s move could significantly impact the Alpine countries’ ski season. Especially Austria, which reported a record 2,435 new daily infections on Thursday, is a popular destination for Germans.

Switzerland Tourism’s spokesman Markus Berger said the news from Germany was obviously not good. The industry hoped that the situation would improve over the next one or two months.

“We assume that the winter season can go ahead,” he said.

However, there was positive news for Spain’s Canary Islands as the RKI removed it from its risk list, lifting hopes there for German tourists over Christmas and New Year.

(Additional reporting by Inti Landauro, Silke Koltrowitz and Andreas Rinke and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen; editing by Maria Sheahan and Angus MacSwan)

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Germany Issues Travel Warnings as COVID Surges in Europe | World News

By Kirsti Knolle and Inti Landauro

BERLIN/MADRID (Reuters) – Germany warned on Thursday against travel to neighbouring countries, Belgium’s foreign minister went into intensive care and Spain said COVID-19 was “out of control” in many areas, as governments across Europe took action to fight the pandemic.

As German authorities reported more than 10,000 daily cases for the first time, Berlin issued travel warnings for Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, most of Austria and many Italian regions, including the capital Rome.

“The situation overall has become very serious,” Lothar Wieler, of the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s infectious diseases agency, said in Berlin, adding: “We still have a chance to slow a further spread of the virus.”

After Europe appeared to have gained a measure of control over the epidemic following the dramatic lockdowns of March and April, a surge in cases over recent weeks has put the continent back at the heart of the crisis.

Hospitalisations and deaths across most of Europe have not yet reached the levels of the initial wave early this year, but authorities in many countries worry the situation could rapidly get worse.

More than 5.3 million people in Europe have contracted the disease and over 204,000 have died, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

India has had more than 7.7 million cases – the world’s highest tally after the United States with 8.3 million. But elsewhere in Asia, from China to South Korea or New Zealand, draconian lockdowns and rigorous contact tracing have helped contain the disease.

Grappling with the enormous costs of the coronavirus, Europe’s leaders are desperate to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdowns that shut down their economies in the spring.

But as cases have surged, and health services have come under increasing pressure, they have been forced to impose and expand local restrictions aimed at reducing public gatherings to ever wider areas.

Underlining the reach of the disease, Belgian Foreign Minister Sophie Wilmes went into intensive care on Thursday. German Health Minister Jens Spahn tested positive a day earlier.

“The second wave is a reality,” Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Thursday. “In many areas of our country, the epidemic is out of control.”

A number of Spanish regions are calling for localised curfews such as those implemented in France and Italy, where Lazio, the region around Rome, has joined Lombardy and Campania around Milan and Naples in imposing overnight curfews.

Amid the growing public alarm, Germany’s statistics office noted that sales of toilet paper rose almost 90% last week from pre-crisis levels with almost equally sharp jumps in sales of disinfectants and soap.

Only Sweden, a European outlier which has relied largely on voluntary measures to promote social distancing, was an exception, declaring senior citizens no longer need to isolate themselves given lower COVID infection rates than in spring.

As the crisis has intensified, much of the public goodwill seen in the first phase of lockdowns has evaporated and central governments have engaged in angry spats

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India Infection Peak Seen; Green Lane Travel: Virus Update

(Bloomberg) — European leaders intensified efforts to tamp down surging infections, with Ireland enacting severe restrictions. Soaring cases in U.S. battleground states pose a challenge for President Donald Trump two weeks before the election.

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India has already seen a peak in the number of new infections and may be able to contain the world’s second-largest outbreak by February, according to a government panel of scientists, though it also warns the upcoming festival and winter seasons may increase the susceptibility to the virus. The Philippines shortened curfew hours in Manila and eased the stay-at-home order to further reopen its economy.

Discussions to open up travel for business purposes continue to take place in Asia, with the governments of Japan and China reportedly close to an agreement to resume business travel between the countries as soon as this week.

Key Developments:

Global Tracker: Cases top 40.2 million; deaths exceed 1.1 millionSee the latest on the race for a vaccine with Bloomberg’s trackerTrading floors are full and masks are off in post-Covid ShanghaiFear of job loss haunt half the world’s workers as crisis ragesCDC issues ‘strong’ call for masks on U.S. airplanes, trainsHow do people catch Covid-19? Here’s what experts say: 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.



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Japan, China Near Agreement to Resume Business Travel (7:29 a.m. HK)

The governments of Japan and China will agree to resume business travel between the countries as soon as this week, Yomiuri reports, citing an unidentified Japanese government official.

Those planning long stays will be required to undergo 14 day quarantine, but will be exempt for short stays provided certain conditions are met

Texas Hospitals Strain to Cope in Newest Hotspots (7:27 a.m. HK)

Almost one-fourth of all hospital beds in the El Paso, Texas, area are occupied by virus patients and the region with almost 1 million residents has just 16 intensive-care beds available, state health department data showed.

In the state’s newest hotspots of El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo and Laredo, hospitals’ virus loads are approaching or already above the 15% threshhold set forth by Governor Greg Abbott for emergency status.

Meanwhile, data lags continue to dog efforts to track the trajectory of the outbreak in the second-largest US state. On Monday, the state disclosed 2,440 previously uncounted cases, a tally which outnumbered the actual figure for new daily detections by more than 7%.

CDC Urges Masks While on Transit (6:41 a.m. HK)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “strong recommendation” for mask-wearing by both passengers and operators on planes, trains, buses and taxis to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Masks should cover a person’s nose and mouth and be worn while traveling in and out of the U.S. as well as within the country, the agency said. Operators should require them for the entire time of travel and deny entry to anyone not

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U.S.-Canada border to remain closed to non-essential travel for another month as cases rise

The U.S.-Canadian border will remain closed to non-essential travel until late November as the U.S. has more confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any other country in the world. 

The ban on non-essential travel was put in place in March and has been extended every month since then. 


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On Monday, Canada’s public safety minister announced the earliest the border will reopen is now Nov. 21 in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The closure was set to expire on Oct. 21. 

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until November 21, 2020. Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Canadian Emergency Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet Monday. 

The restrictions do not apply to essential workers such as health care professionals, airline crews and truck drivers. Americans and Canadians returning to their countries are also exempted from the border closure. 

The move comes as many parts of the U.S. are experiencing surges in coronavirus cases, prompting fears about a devastating second wave of infections going into flu season and the colder months. The U.S. reported more than 70,000 new infections on Friday, making it the highest single-day increase for the country since late July. 

Canada was able to largely flatten the curve over the summer,  but has been experiencing a rise in new daily cases since the end of August. 

As of Monday, the U.S. confirmed more than 8 million coronavirus cases and nearly 220,000 deaths. Canada has recorded nearly 210,000 cases and just under 10,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.


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Infectious Disease Expert Contradicts Anthony Fauci, Reveals How Thanksgiving Travel Could Be Safe

While Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning against large family gatherings and travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., another health expert is saying that those who utilize proper precautions should be okay to do some traveling over the holidays.

Speaking to WPTV, an NBC affiliate station, Dr. Kleper De Almeida, an infectious disease specialist with JFK Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida, said that he felt travel could take place over the holiday season, including Thanksgiving, so long as those choosing to travel did so in a smart and safe way.

“As long as people take the measures that we should be applying every day, it would be safe to travel,” he said. “We need to be very mindful of that while we travel to protect ourselves from exposure, and in doing so, minimizing the risk of bringing it back to our communities.”

De Almeida’s comments directly contradict ones made by Fauci, who is the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has been seen as the face of COVID-19, as he repeatedly warns Americans of rising infection rates and encourages mask use and social distancing. However, while those measures can help slow the spread, he has warned against letting them be the sole means of protection when it comes to considering a larger gathering for Thanksgiving and even admitted that he was taking precautions by not spending the holiday with his own daughters.

“That is unfortunately a risk, when you have people coming from out of town, gathering together in an indoor setting,” Fauci said. It is unfortunate, because that’s such a sacred part of American tradition—the family gathering around Thanksgiving. But that is a risk.”

The CDC echoed Fauci’s concerns with their guidelines for the holiday season, and traditional events that draw large crowds, like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, are going virtual to try and prevent the spread.

The United States currently stands at more than 8 million total COVID-19 infections reported and 218,000 deaths, with more than 70,000 new cases reported Friday, the largest increase since July. According to statistics from the New York Times, a total of 29 states continue to report high numbers of cases, while 16 other states are starting to report upticks.

In the past seven days, states that have seen high surges in percentages of cases have been North and South Dakota, which have seen more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents, with Montana, Wisconsin and Nebraska also reporting high numbers, with more than 300 cases per 100,000 residents. Currently, the only states that have seen less than 100 infections per 100,000 people (less than 0.001 percent), have been Vermont, Maine, Hawaii, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, California, Washington, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Virginia, Florida, Delaware, Georgia and Louisiana.

Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Fauci said the government would not make any future COVID-19 vaccine obligatory for the general public Photo: POOL / Al Drago

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Ontario fitness chains ask members from COVID-19 hotspots to not travel to other regions to workout



a sign on the side of a building: People lined up outside of an LA Fitness in Milton


© Thebishk/Twitter
People lined up outside of an LA Fitness in Milton

Prominent fitness chains in Ontario are asking for people residing in COVID-19 hotspots to stop travelling to other jurisdictions to workout.

The Ontario government moved Toronto, Peel and Ottawa back into modified versions of Stage 2 amid a rise in coronavirus cases, which meant gyms would be closed for 28 days effective last Saturday at 12:01 a.m.

Read more: Toronto, Peel Region move into Stage 2 of province’s reopening plan Wednesday

Now, LA Fitness and Goodlife Fitness have released statements telling members from those three regions to not try to workout in other non-hotspot locations after multiple videos surfaced online of lineups outside certain locations.

“Following the travel recommendations provided by the Ontario Government, GoodLife is asking Members from Ottawa, Peel and Toronto not to visit other GoodLife Clubs in regions outside of their own during this temporary closure,” a statement from Goodlife Fitness read on Thursday.

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“All Members in these regions were automatically placed on freeze on Saturday, October 10, and they are not permitted to book workouts at Clubs in surrounding regions using the GoodLife App or Member Portal.”

A statement from LA Fitness read: “We don’t support or encourage members from Higher Transmission Areas where our clubs have been closed to use our clubs that are open in other areas. In response to these concerns, we have sent the clarifying email noted below to the affected members on October 14, and posted this identical message at the open clubs.”

Read more: Coronavirus: What you can and can’t do in Toronto, Peel and Ottawa under Ontario’s modified stage 2

Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott said people who travel to other locations are only adding to the problem.

“If we have people traveling around outside of their own home area to get some of these services, that’s going to only add to to our numbers and add to the problem. So please stay where you are. Workout at home if you’re able to.”

Premier Doug Ford warned if the situation continues, the government might have to clamp down on other areas.

“If the spread continues, yes, the answer is yes. But again, we can’t police 14 and a half million people,” he said at his daily press conference, however, he did say for the most part, people have been following the new rules.

“Everyone’s pitched in. Everyone’s helped out. Everyone’s followed, for the most part, the guidelines and protocols. So that’s all we’re asking.”

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