Airlines canceled hundreds more flights on Sunday, citing staffing issues related to COVID-19, as travel problems extended beyond Christmas and without a clear indication of when it will return to normal.
More than 700 flights entering, departing or flying within the United States had been canceled by Sunday, according to flight-tracking website FlightAware. On Saturday there were almost 1,000 flights canceled and by Monday there were already more than 50.
Delta, United and JetBlue blame the omicron variant of the coronavirus for staffing shortages that forced the cancellations. “This was unexpected,” United spokeswoman Maddie King said.RELATED
Globally, airlines had cut about 2,200 flights by Sunday morning, up from more than 2,800 the day before, FlightAware data showed. The site does not say why the flights are being canceled.
JetBlue eliminated 10% of its flights on Sunday, Delta 5% and United 4%, according to FlightAware. The three airlines canceled more than 10% of their scheduled flights on Saturday.
American Airlines spokesman Derek Walls said the Christmas cancellations were due to employee absences due to illness related to the virus.
Also Sunday, America’s top infectious disease physician acknowledged that there is a limited supply of COVID-19 tests.
Demand for tests has increased due to omicron. “Obviously, we have to do better,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview that aired Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
Meanwhile, France recorded more than 100,000 infections in a single day for the first time in the pandemic, and COVID-19 hospitalizations have doubled in the past month.
More than 1 in 100 people in the Paris region tested positive in the last week, according to the regional health service. Most of the new infections are related to omicron, a variant that is already dominant in Britain.
The total death toll in France has risen to more than 122,000 since the start of the pandemic.
The government of President Emmanuel Macron planned emergency meetings for Monday to discuss next steps. Some scientists and educators have urged delaying going back to school after the break or suggested reordering a lockdown.