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The impact of the storm in Texas could lead to more cases of the virus, experts say.

More than a week after a powerful winter storm hit Texas, some experts say the conditions – which have forced hundreds of people across the state to huddle in homes, cars and shelters to warm – could lead to an increase in coronavirus cases.

The devastating storm nearly collapsed the state’s electricity grid, leaving millions of people in dark, unheated homes in some of the freezing temperatures in state history.

Reporting of coronavirus cases dropped precipitously for a week in Texas during the storm and then increased sharply again in the week since, so it is still too early to discern a specific growth or decline in the number of cases there. . But experts say conditions created during the storm have raised concerns.

“It’s possible to see a recovery from the Texas storm,” said Katelyn Jetelina, an epidemiologist at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Dallas. “We had a lot of things against us,” Dr Jetelina said, noting that she, like many others, had to move from house to house when she lost power.

People stood in long queues to buy water and food at grocery stores and food distribution sites, spent the night in warming centers, and crashed with friends and family during that the electricity was going out and that pipes were bursting in their houses.

While it is not known how many people are still displaced by the storm, reports from various cities suggest that thousands of people across Texas may have been forced to seek shelter.

In Fort Worth, nearly 200 people took refuge in a convention center. In Dallas, a convention center housed about 650 people, the Texas Tribune reported, and a site in Houston had nearly 800 people, while 500 people lived in emergency shelters in Austin, officials said. Even in Del Rio, a smaller town, officials reported nearly 40 people were to stay at the city’s warming center.

“There are very real possibilities that the coronavirus had events of wide spread or that it was more easily transmitted because people were congregated inside for long periods of time,” said Dr Jetelina. “It’s a little worrying.”

But cases could also go the other way, she said, as millions of people were forced to stay at home as work and school were largely canceled. With the data reporting delay, it is still too early to tell, she noted, so the full impact of the Texas storm on the number of cases will not be known for at least one. week. Even then, said Dr Jetelina, it will be difficult to say whether an increase in cases is linked to the storm or to new, more contagious variants – or a combination of the two.

Although the average rate of new daily cases reported in Texas has returned to pre-storm levels, it remains about half of what it was in January.

This wider drop reflects the decline in cases nationwide in recent weeks, as the daily average of new cases in the United States hovers around 70,000 – well below its high of 250,000 last month .

Stories of people coming together in desperate search for heat and water were ubiquitous throughout Texas.

In San Antonio, Diana Gaitan had more water and electricity than her relatives. So several of them ended up crashing into her home, she said while waiting in a food distribution line at the San Antonio food bank last weekend. At one point, there were a dozen people spending the night at Ms. Gaitan’s home.

“We were all stuck inside the house,” she said.

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Travel News

Mapping the impact of the winter storm

Brutal cold hung over Texas and the central United States on Tuesday after a massive winter storm swept through the region.






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The storm wreaked havoc in parts of the country that were not used to harsh winter weather. At least 23 people have died in four states, icy roads creating dangerous conditions.

Millions more face freezing cold without heat, as grid operators have been forced to shut off electricity on an ongoing basis to prevent larger power outages.

[For the latest updates, follow our live coverage of the storm.]

In Texas, the hardest-hit state, more than 4.4 million homes and businesses went without power Tuesday morning, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates live electricity data from utilities. Hundreds of thousands of electricity customers in more than a dozen other states were also without power.


Texas experienced widespread power outages after the storm





Percentage of customers without electricity

Percentage of customers without electricity

Percentage of customers without electricity

Percentage of customers without electricity


Source: PowerOutage.us | Data as of 12:25 p.m. EST.

Controlled power outages began overnight Sunday and Monday in Texas, as the state’s grid operator sought to balance increased demand with a supply shortage.

Just as electricity use has skyrocketed – with Texans looking to combat the cold by increasing their heaters – the state has lost some of its generating capacity. Some natural gas and coal-fired power plants were put out of service by the cold, and the freezing conditions also blocked the wind turbines.

“This is definitely a storm of anomalous anomalies,” said Thomas Overbye, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. “A lot of our thermal power plants, our natural gas plants, are not designed to cope with this type of cold.”

“How well the generation should be prepared for these types of temperatures is something I’m sure we will be looking at very soon,” Mr. Overbye said. But “the key right now is to get as many generations back online as possible.”

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Travel News

The impact of teacher deaths

For a few happy months, our kids spent their days at school and with friends, not with us and on screens. Then we added a ‘variant’ to our lexicon, with the shocking rise of a much more transmissible version of the coronavirus. On December 19, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson canceled Christmas. The stores were closed and it was forbidden to meet other people.

The government said schools would reopen on January 4, and some did – for a day (not ours). Then the government made another U-turn and closed all schools at least until February, although they remain open to children of frontline workers. We are now told that my daughters’ schools will be closed at least until early March.

The variant is very real. Last March, only the doctors we knew came down with Covid; in December, everyone seemed to have it: couples, kids, whole families. From 500 cases a day in August, British cases have exploded to around 60,000 a day – and nearly 1,500 deaths.

My kids dreaded home school 2.0. But humans are adaptable creatures, and children even more so. Teachers are more comfortable teaching online and children are more independent. They always feel lonely: When I asked my 10 year old daughter what she needed as she crawled next to me on a Zoom call, she replied, “Company”. It was like she was saying, “I need humans and you, the working ones, SUCK.”

Recently the numbers have come down a bit: the seven-day average for cases hovers around 33,000. The UK’s vaccination plan is going pretty well: among people aged 80 and over, four in five have been vaccinated. But deaths remain stubbornly high and the National Health Service is on its knees.

The weather is still bad, the parents are extremely stressed and the children are falling behind. But we opened schools once and I bet it will happen again. Some days we are terrified, other days we grab silver linings. The sun now sets after 5 p.m., over an hour later than at the end of December. A small victory, the result of nothing more than the passage of time, but one that we will take.


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Impacting Travel

New study reveals impact of COVID-19 on tourism industry

Facebook today released its ‘State of Small Business Report’, based on the ‘Future of Business Survey’, an ongoing collaborative effort conducted in conjunction with the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development ( OECD).

Over the past six months, more than 150,000 small businesses around the world have been surveyed as part of the effort to gain insight into the true impact of COVID-19 on small and medium-sized business (SMB) owners.

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Among its key findings is that small consumer-oriented businesses, including those in the travel and tourism sector, had endured the deepest levels of sales decline in all six waves of the survey.

At the time of the Wave VI survey, 63 percent of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) reported lower sales volumes compared to the same 30-day period last year. That’s a 13 percentage point drop in annual sales from what they were experiencing during the First Wave of the study. SMEs also reported a decline in manufacturing (59 percent) and transportation and logistics (58 percent).

Being trending now

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

Based on trends in sales and closing rates, consumer-facing sectors such as hotels, cafes and restaurants also remain the most uncertain about what the next few months will bring. At the time of the Wave VI survey, 52 percent cited the lack of consumer demand as a future challenge, while 40 percent cited mostly cash flow concerns. These observations align with external evidence pointing to the difficulties faced by companies that rely on in-person transactions.

Encouraging news is that hotel, café and restaurant closure rates fell by 15 percentage points between waves I and VI of the study, dropping from 32 percent to 17 percent during the six-month period from May to October. In this sector, a substantial part of SMEs referred to certain community restrictions, such as requests to stay at home (46 percent), closures of workplaces (43 percent), and limitations on the size of meetings ( 40 percent) that strongly impacted their business.

Looking at SMEs across all sectors, the study found that optimism and positive sentiments about the future among business leaders gradually increased from one survey wave to the next. According to Wave VI, 56% of respondents described themselves as ‘optimistic’ or ‘very optimistic’ about the future of their business, compared to 54% in Wave I. Except in the Europe region, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where the percentage actually decreased.

A strange positive outcome of the COVID-19 crisis may ultimately be that SMEs are expanding the reach of their businesses through the use of digital technologies and online marketplaces, which has helped many mitigate losses they they have suffered in terms of traditional storefront transactions. At the time of the Wave VI survey, 26 percent of SMBs reported that their share of their sales has increased compared to pre-pandemic times.

For more information, visit dataforgood.fb.com/global-state-of-smb/.

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Impacting Travel

Trivago CFO discusses the impact of vaccines on travel

It has been a week of good news for the travel industry in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Last Monday, Pfizer announced that its COVID-19 vaccine went through Phase 3 trials with an effective rate of 90 percent. Yesterday, Moderna announced that its version of a vaccine has had an efficacy rate of 94.5 percent.

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Both drugs could be distributed starting next month.

Now the CFO of online travel company Trivago says vaccines will help, of course, but he doesn’t expect things to get back to normal until more like 2022.

Matthias Tillmann told Barron’s financial outlet that “if we really get it by the end of the year, it will probably take time to roll out in 2021 so it doesn’t have a huge impact on our industry. But then 2022 can be a huge game changer. “

Part of the thinking is that Tillman does not anticipate that people will book intercontinental flights that they postponed during the pandemic, especially when business travel is practically at a standstill.

“I think [a vaccine] it is sure to have a positive impact. The perception will be much more positive towards travel, ”he said. “But I wouldn’t assume people would say that, ‘Now I’m going to make this long-haul flight to Asia from Europe or the United States.’ People will probably feel safer traveling within their regions. That is what we anticipate. “

Tillmann also said he is optimistic about the Joseph Biden administration because the president-elect appears to be taking the virus more seriously than President Trump.

“It seems like he has the whole situation on his agenda and wants to implement stricter measures to combat the virus,” Tillman said. “I think it is better for the industry in general to take the pain in the short term, be very serious and do everything possible to contain the situation and then return to a sustainable recovery in the long term.

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Impacting Travel

Latest updates on the impact of Hurricane Zeta on travel

Update: October 29, 2020 at 8:30 am ET

Tropical Storm Zeta made landfall as a strong Category 2 hurricane near Cocodrie, Louisiana, in Terrebonne Bay Wednesday afternoon.

According to Weather.com, the storm system brought damaging wind gusts and heavy rain as it moved inland through parts of the south, including winds reaching nearly 50 miles per hour at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport.

Airlines serving the region proactively canceled select flights in the storm’s projected track and continue to monitor the storm to make necessary adjustments. Current travel exemptions are in effect for select cities in Louisiana, Florida and Alabama for travel on October 28 and 29.


Hurricane Zeta continues to strengthen as it approaches the US Gulf Coast to make landfall on Wednesday.

According to Weather.com, hurricane warnings have been issued from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Mississippi / Alabama border, including the New Orleans metropolitan area. The life-threatening storm surge, damaging winds and heavy rains are expected to arrive Wednesday afternoon into the evening.

The storm surge warning includes areas from Intracoastal City, Louisiana, to Navarre, Florida, while a tropical storm warning is also in effect for parts of southern Mississippi, Alabama, the western tip of Florida, and northern Georgia.

Zeta is also expected to bring rains to the east coast through the end of the week, as the storm interacts with another weather system.

As a result, several major airlines have issued travel alerts, eliminated modified fares, and capped fares to airports in the projected path of the storm. Zeta could affect at least nine coastal airports in Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Airlines such as American, Delta, Frontier, jetBlue, Southwest and United have issued travel advisories for the region.

Amtrak has adjusted its schedule and services on the Sunset Limited, Crescent and City of New Orleans routes due to the anticipated path of Tropical Storm Zeta. There will be no substitute transportation available to and from New Orleans.

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Impacting Travel

Updates on the impact of Hurricane Delta on travel in Cancun, United States

Update: October 8, 2020 at 9:50 am ET

After affecting travel in Cancun and other Mexican Caribbean destinations, Hurricane Delta has again strengthened to a category 2 as it heads to make landfall Friday along the Gulf Coast, including parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. .

According to Weather.com, a hurricane warning is in effect from eastern Sabine Pass, Texas, to Morgan City, Louisiana, including Lake Charles and Lafayette in Louisiana. Hurricane-level conditions are expected within 36 hours.

Airlines serving destinations likely affected by the storm have begun issuing travel advisories and waiving exchange fees. American, Delta, Southwest and United are helping travelers heading to or from the region.

As for Delta’s impact in Mexico, The Associated Press does not report fatalities or serious injuries, but strong winds left parts of Cancun and Cozumel without power. In total, around 39,000 people were evacuated in the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán.


The Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico was forced to take shelter when Hurricane Delta made landfall Wednesday morning as a Category 2 storm.

According to Weather.com, Hurricane Delta caused life-threatening storm surges and heavy wind damage as it moved through the region, which is home to popular tourist destinations such as Cancun.

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Once the storm recedes over the water, it is expected to bring life-threatening storm surges and hurricane force winds to the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi when it makes landfall in the United States on Friday.

As a result of potential closures at the Cancun International Airport, Delta Air Lines issued a travel waiver and limited fares for flights to and from Cancun, Mexico, between October 6-8 to provide flexibility to customers.

Additionally, the airline is lifting its seating capacity restrictions for all planned flights departing from Cancun and adding an additional flight to allow as many customers to evacuate safely. In total, Delta is adding 900 seats.

American Airlines is also waiving change fees for passengers departing or arriving in Cancun and Cozumel, and changes must be made by October 8 and completed within one year of the original ticket date. A fare difference may apply.

Southwest and United airlines have also issued travel advisories for Cancun in response to Hurricane Delta.

For travelers in Louisiana and Mississippi, Amtrak announced adjustments to its schedule and services due to Delta’s anticipated landfall, including changes to Sunset Limited, Crescent and City of New Orleans services.

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