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People rethink Thanksgiving plans as coronavirus cases hit record highs

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 11/24/2020 Cassidy Morrison
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Most people have changed their travel plans for Thanksgiving amid surging cases and warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sixty-one percent of respondents for the latest installment of the Axios /Ipsos Coronavirus Index said they are changing their Thanksgiving plans in some way, with 29% saying they will only be seeing people in their immediate household. Another survey from the firm Dynata, commissioned by the New York Times, found that only around 27% plan to be with people outside of their household, which is consistent with the results from smaller surveys.

Views on whether to change plans to reduce the risk of getting sick fall along party lines. Axios found that roughly three-quarters of Democratic respondents said they have changed their plans, compared to about half of Republicans. Meanwhile, Dynata found that roughly two-thirds of Republicans have decided to avoid a large gathering.

Additionally, 12% of respondents in the Axios survey said they'll no longer be traveling, in accordance with the CDC’s recommendation against traveling during the holiday week.

The CDC’s latest guidance for a safe Thanksgiving stresses that “postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, has also implored people to keep gatherings small with people living in the same household only.

"As we get into the colder weather, we should really think twice about these kind of dinner parties where you're not sure of whether the people that are in your bubble [are safe]," Fauci said last week. "Then, you're going to start seeing these unanticipated infections related to innocent home gatherings, particularly as we head into the holiday season."

To date, over 12.5 million infections and more than 259,000 deaths have been confirmed in the United States.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will not rely on the vaccine developed by Russian scientists, who insist that their shots are 95% effective, because they have yet to be certified safe and effective.

That caution belies Putin’s jubilance in August, when he declared that Russian researchers had developed a vaccine — adding that his own daughter was participating in the clinical trials. The Russian leader has boasted of his willingness to “personally take the Russian vaccine” before traveling abroad, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov tapped the brakes on that idea.

"The president cannot use an uncertified vaccine," Peskov noted, according to TASS, a state-run media outlet. “All the procedures are about to conclude, and then, if he finds it necessary, he will inform you.”

School systems have reported soaring rates of failing grades compared to last year, a signal that online-only learning doesn’t cut it. In Fairfax County, Virginia, a new report from the Office of Research and Strategic Improvement found that the percentage of failing grades so far was up more than 80% compared to last year's rates — jumping 6% to 11%. Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of all middle school students in the Austin Independent School District were failing at least one class, a 70% increase compared to last year.

The detriments of virtual learning were felt harder in underserved communities and lower-income households. In January 2019, a full year before most of the world knew what the coronavirus was, a report from George Mason University found that "fully online coursework has contributed to increasing gaps in educational success across socioeconomic groups while failing to improve affordability."

The CEO of Qantas Airlines, Alan Joyce, said passengers on its international flights will likely be required to vaccinate against the coronavirus in the future. Qantas is Australia’s largest airline. Joyce added that the company is looking at different options on how to confirm people have been vaccinated.

“We are looking at changing our terms and conditions to say for international travelers that we will ask people to have the vaccination before they get on the aircraft,” Joyce said, according to the Associated Press.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan scolded residents of his state who choose not to wear a face mask, telling them there is “no constitutional right to walk around without a mask.”

“It’s sort of like saying, ‘I have a constitutional right to drive drunk. I have a constitutional right to not wear a seat belt or to yell fire in a crowded movie theater or to not follow the speed limit,'" Hogan said during a press conference Monday.

The S&P 500 Index closed at an all-time high Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average topped 30,000 for the first time, reflecting investor optimism about the coronavirus vaccine. The market also benefited from the formal start of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition, which has given investors a sense of what policies the new administration’s Treasury Department will prefer.

Germany and Britain will loosen coronavirus restrictions around Christmastime to allow families to celebrate together. People will be permitted to travel anywhere in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland between Dec. 23 and Dec. 27. People in the United Kingdom from up to three different households will be allowed to gather in private residences and outdoor spaces, the New York Times reported. Meanwhile, Germany’s 16 federal states plan to allow gatherings of up to 10 people over Christmas and New Year's in a new draft proposal that will go to Chancellor Angela Merkel for approval, Reuters reported.

French Prime Minister Emmanuel Macron announced a three-part loosening of the nationwide lockdown, saying in a televised address that France has “slowed the spread of the virus … but it is still very much present.” Starting Dec. 15, provided daily new cases stay below 5,000 and hospitalizations do not exceed 3,000, most restrictions on movement will be lifted and replaced with curfews. The curfew will be relaxed on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, and people will be able to travel between regions without a permit, France24 reported.

Tags: Healthcare, News, Coronavirus, Air Travel, Travel, CDC, Thanksgiving, France, Germany

Original Author: Cassidy Morrison

Original Location: People rethink Thanksgiving plans as coronavirus cases hit record highs


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