Pandemic-weary Americans plan for summer despite COVID surge


HONOLULU (AP) — A high school prom in Hawaii where masked dancers weren’t allowed to touch. A return to virtual city council meetings in one Colorado town after the mayor and others tested positive following an in-person session. A reinstated mask mandate at skilled nursing facilities in Los Angeles County after 22 new outbreaks in a single week.

A COVID-19 surge is underway that is starting to cause disruptions as the school year wraps up and Americans prepare for summer vacations. Many people, though, have returned to their pre-pandemic routines and plans, which often involve travel.

Case counts are as high as they’ve been since mid-February and those figures are likely a major undercount because of unreported positive home test results and asymptomatic infections. Earlier this month, an influential modeling group at the University of Washington in Seattle estimated that only 13% of cases were being reported to U.S. health authorities.

Hospitalizations are also up and more than one-third of the U.S. population lives in areas that are considered at high risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Northeast has been hit the hardest.

Yet vaccinations have stagnated and elected officials nationwide seem loath to impose new restrictions on a public that’s ready to move on even as the U.S. death toll surpassed 1 million people less than 2 1/2 years into the outbreak.

“People probably are underestimating the prevalence of COVID,” said Crystal Watson, public health lead in the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security’s Coronavirus Resource Center. “I think there’s a lot more virus out there than we recognize, and so people are much, much more likely than they anticipate to be exposed and infected.”

A major metric for the pandemic — the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. — skyrocketed over the last two weeks, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The figure was about 76,000 on May 9 and jumped to nearly 109,000 on Monday. That was the highest it had been since mid-February, when the omicron-fueled surge was winding down.

Deaths are still on the decline and hospital intensive care units aren’t swamped like they were at other times during the pandemic, likely because vaccinations and immunity from people who have already had the disease are keeping many cases less severe.

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“The nature of the disease has changed. Two years ago I was seeing a steady flow of bad pneumonia cases. Now we are in a situation where people should be able to avoid that outcome by taking advantage of vaccines, pre-exposure prophylaxis (for high risk), and early anti-viral therapy,” Dr. Jonathan Dworkin, a clinical infectious diseases physician in Hawaii, said by email.

In Hawaii, which once had one of the nation’s lowest rates of infection, hospitalization and death, new cases are surging among the state’s 1.4 million residents. The University of Hawaii will again require masks indoors across its 10-campus system beginning Wednesday.

With cases climbing for eight straight weeks, Hawaii has the second highest infection rate of any state, trailing only Rhode Island. But because positive home test results aren’t counted in official data, Hawaii’s health department estimates that the case count is actually five or six times higher.

Despite its surge, visitors have been flocking to Hawaii’s beaches, especially in recent months.

Yaling Fisher, owner of Hawaii Aloha Travel, said bookings to the islands haven’t slowed during the surge. On the contrary, they’ve increased.

“Even now we are still busy,” she said. “We don’t see any cancellations.”

Samantha Hanberg, who was in Hawaii this week with her newlywed husband, said the couple left their masks at home in California when they left for vacation. She said she contracted COVID-19 early in the pandemic and subsequently got fully vaccinated, so she too feels safe.

“Nobody wants to get sick, but it’s definitely not at the forefront of my thought process anymore,” she said, snacking on shave ice on Waikiki Beach. “I’m to the point now where I just I want to go back to living and enjoying life, and not being so worried.”

Officials initially shut down Hawaii’s tourism industry by requiring all incoming passengers to quarantine. They shifted to a testing requirement and then a vaccination exemption before dropping all restrictions in March.

Hawaii was the last state in the nation to drop its mask mandate, though it remains the only state to require all public school students to wear masks while indoors — a rule that will remain in effect throughout the summer and possibly into the next school year.

Nearly two years after California Gov. Gavin Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-home order, the state formally shifted to an “endemic” approach in February. Like Hawaii and many other states, its weekly infection rate has risen dramatically of late.

The new surge led the school districts in Pacific Grove and Berkeley to reinstate their indoor mask mandates, while an outbreak at a Northern California long-term healthcare facility had sickened at least 12 people by Friday.

Some Northeastern school districts have also revived their mask mandates, including those in Philadelphia and Providence, Rhode Island.

However New York, which was once the U.S. epicenter of the pandemic, doesn’t seem likely to follow suit. The city is dealing with another surge in cases, but Mayor Eric Adams has all but ruled out bringing back a citywide mask mandate unless hospitals get inundated again.

The city’s school district jettisoned its practice of closing classrooms if multiple students test positive, merely recommends that masks be worn and even abandoned its requirement that students need to be vaccinated to attend prom.

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Dazio reported from Los Angeles.

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Find more of the AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic



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Runway travel health: A new hub for understanding COVID requirements by country worldwide




Runway travel health: A new hub for understanding COVID requirements by country worldwide | Fortune





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Covid: Saudi announces fresh travel ban for India among 16 countries – News


Authority issues guidelines for citizens



Reuters file

Reuters file

By Web Desk

Published: Sun 22 May 2022, 2:07 PM

Last updated: Sun 22 May 2022, 2:30 PM

Saudi Arabia has announced a fresh travel ban on citizens for 16 countries due to Covid-19 cases in those countries, The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) said on Saturday.

The list of countries include: Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, India, Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, Indonesia, Vietnam, Armenia, Belarus, and Venezuela.

The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) emphasised that the validity of the passport for Saudis, who intend to travel to non-Arab countries, must be more than six months, Saudi Gazette reported.

According to the statement, the validity of the passport should be more than three months for travelling to Arab countries. As for citizens, who travel to other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, the validity of their national ID card must be more than three months.

The Jawazat reiterated that the soft copy of the national ID on Absher and Tawakkalna applications is not sufficient for travel to GCC states.

The original ID card and family registry must be produced for the travel in addition to a document of proof of dependents inside the Kingdom whose holders are unable to travel to the Gulf countries.

Regarding the health requirements for Saudis travelling outside the Kingdom, the Jawazat listed the following requirements:

– Received three doses of Covid-19 vaccine, with the third dose received after three months of taking the second dose

– Exemptions for those groups who have received a vaccine waiver on medical grounds as per the status on the Tawakkalna application

– Those under 16 and 12 require two doses of the vaccine

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As for those who are under the age of 12, they are required to have a valid insurance policy against coronavirus while travelling.



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Summer travel tips as COVID restrictions ease


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Although some COVID restrictions have changed, it can be hard to know what the rules are when it comes to traveling.

8 News Now connected with an expert for a quick roundup of where things stand, and how to plan ahead.

Masks are not required on domestic flights, but some airports are still requiring them.

For those who prefer to wear a mask, passengers are still welcome to do so.

Lousson Smith is a specialist with Scott’s Cheap Flights and says his team members observed a third to half of the passengers masked on flights during the past week.

“If you are going to JFK, La Guardia, or LAX, they are still upholding those mandates,” Smith said.

For international flights, masks may be required, depending on the rules of the destination.

The best way to get clarity, check the website of the airports you’re traveling through and contact the airline if you’re not sure.

It’s a good idea to travel with an extra mask or two, just in case.

When it comes to COVID test-taking, the U.S. is one of the few countries requiring a negative COVID test to enter, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

“If you are going abroad and coming back, be mindful a day before that departure, you have to have a negative test,” Smith said. “The issue that people are facing, they forget, they are stranded in a foreign country, make sure you are remembering before you come back to the states.”

Many airline flights still have the options to be changed for free.

“All airlines are still waiving change fees for any tickets above basic economy, trade-off with basic economy price, don’t get the flexibility of other tickets,” he added.

If you have a trip booked that you know you don’t want to or can’t take, don’t cancel it and take the credit right away.

If the airline cancels it or significantly changes the schedule you’re entitled to a cash refund.



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Dodgers broadcast team won’t travel to upcoming away games due to positive COVID tests


The Dodgers announced Wednesday that their broadcast team will not be traveling to the upcoming away games in Philadelphia and Washington due to positive COVID cases.

The Dodgers released a statement saying, “Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided not to travel their broadcasters to the upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington.”

The team said the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles similar to how they were in 2020 and in 2021.





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Countries relaxing COVID travel restrictions


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Countries across the globe are continuing to relax international travel restrictions related to COVID with the European Union dropping its mask mandate for air travelers starting next week.

And COVID travel warnings are being dropped, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month removed all the remaining countries on its “Do Not Travel” list.

“More and more people are once again traveling to destinations around the world and enjoying all that comes with travel,” the agency said Thursday in a statement shared by spokesperson Tom Skinner.

While many warnings and restrictions around the world have been relaxed, the CDC said that traveling can still increase the risk of exposure to the virus.

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and CDC are working with the White House and other federal partners to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the American public while returning to more normal routines safely,” the CDC continued. “Travel requirements are made using the best available science.”

Mask rules: Where are masks still required now that the mask mandate has been lifted?

Canada: Is easing entry requirements for some international travelers

New Zealand opening up to all tourists by July

New Zealand will reopen its borders to tourists from all countries by July, allow back cruise ships and make it easier for skilled workers to immigrate as it looks outward to the world again following the COVID-19 pandemic, the government said Wednesday.

New Zealand has been slowly reopening, first to Australians last month and then to tourists from the U.S., Britain and more than 50 other countries earlier this month. Wednesday’s announcement will allow tourists from China, India and other countries to come starting July 31.

The government said it also planned to end the need for people to get predeparture COVID-19 tests by the end of July.

Post-pandemic travel: Is it OK to ask another passenger’s vaccine status or request they mask up?

The European Union: Is dropping its mask mandate for airplanes, airports starting next week

Israel to drop arrival testing requirement for US visitors

Starting May 20, all U.S. travelers arriving to Israel by plane will no longer have to take a PCR test upon arrival and will not have to quarantine. 

That said, pre-departure testing will remain a requirement as the ease in restrictions will allow for even more visitors to enjoy our country.

Laos reopens to international visitors after more than 2 years

The landlocked Southeast Asian nation of Laos reopened to tourists and other visitors on Monday, more than two years after it imposed tight restrictions to fight the coronavirus.

Thipphakone Chanthavongsa, head of the government’s agency for controlling COVID-19, announced on Saturday the reopening date, the last in a three-phase plan, state news agency KPL reported. She said vaccination certificates or virus tests will still be required for Lao citizens and foreigners entering the country.

Travelers 12 years of age or older without vaccination certificates must be able to show negative ATK tests taken within 48 hours of departure for Laos.

As part of the easing of restrictions, entertainment venues including karaoke parlors will be able to reopen, but must comply with COVID-19 control regulations. All border crossings were reopened.

Myanmar issuing tourist visas

Myanmar announced Thursday it will resume issuing visas for visitors in an effort to help its moribund tourism industry, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic and violent political unrest.

Starting on Sunday, tourist “e-Visas” will be provided online in a move also intended to harmonize tourism with neighboring countries, according to a government notice in the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Visitors need a certificate of vaccination, negative results from a COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken shortly before their flight and a travel insurance policy. They must also take an ATK rapid test after arrival.

Myanmar on April 1 had already resumed issuing business visas, and on April 17 dropped a ban on international commercial flights. It had stopped issuing visas and suspended flight arrivals in March 2020.

The Czech Republic eases all travel restrictions, too

Last month, the Czech Republic’s Ministry of Health eased travel protocols for international visitors and Czech citizens.

“There are no longer any coronavirus restrictions for entry into the Czech Republic,” CzechTourism said on its website April 14.

Jamaica relaxed some restrictions in April

Jamaica rolled back its COVID-19 entry restrictions in April with hoping that easier entry would attract more tourists. 

The Jamaica Tourist Board announced last month that the Caribbean island would drop its indoor mask mandate and its pre-departure PCR COVID-19 testing requirement starting.

Dreaming of a Caribbean getaway? Here are the COVID entry restrictions for popular islands

As you consider travel, consider any restrictions and recommendations

While you plan travel, even as restrictions easel the CDC recommends all travelers stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines and “follow all domestic and international travel requirements and recommendations.”

And, each week, the health agency updates its Travel Health Notices to alert travelers. 

In addition, CDC’s COVID-19 Travel Health Notices are updated each week to alert travelers of the COVID-19 situation in international destinations and advise them on how to protect themselves before, during, and after travel.

Contributing: Bailey Schulz, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press



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Steve Kerr, out with Covid, did not travel with Warriors to Memphis


Coach Steve Kerr did not make the trip with the Warriors to Memphis for Game 5, acting head coach Mike Brown said on Tuesday.

Kerr tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday before Golden State’s Game 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies, forcing associate head coach Brown to take the reins on late notice in their eventual 101-98 win on Monday to take a commanding 3-1 series lead.

Brown — who improved to a 12-0 playoff record as acting head coach with the Warriors  — is expected to coach Game 5 in Memphis, where they have an opportunity to close out the Western Conference semifinal series. The Grizzlies will be without star guard Ja Morant, who sustained a bone bruise on his right knee during Game 3 in San Francisco.

The Grizzlies say Morant, who was averaging 38 points per game, is doubtful for the rest of the series.

“You don’t wish injury upon anybody. It’s tough for him as an individual,” Brown said. “He seems like a great person from afar, I don’t really know him. Tough for his family, the city of Memphis and his team. We have to stay focused and locked in and understand, no matter who they put on the floor, they’re more than capable of beating us. We have to have that appropriate fear in order to get over the hump.”

Kerr participated digitally in Golden State’s staff meeting on Tuesday morning before the team departed San Francisco. Kerr also called in during halftime and after Game 4.

“He’ll be part of this throughout,” Brown said.

Brown, somewhat jokingly, called for Kerr to return as soon as possible, but said he could not provide a timeline for Kerr’s return from health and safety protocols.

“I’m hoping he can coach tomorrow at shootaround, but it doesn’t look like he will be available,” Brown said.

Brown also noted a handful of Warriors tested for COVID-19, but none have tested positive.

Hours before Game 4, Brown had officially been named to fill the Sacramento Kings’ head coach vacancy, signing a four-year deal.



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Summer Travel 3 Positive Trends For Travellers to Explore Stress Free Post COVID


Summer Travel Trends: India has restored certain levels of travel normalcy with the removal of Covid-19 restrictions and the reopening of international borders after two years. The coming of the summer travel season, combined with the relaxation of limitations, has boosted people’s travel confidence once again. After two straight summers of lockdown, 2022 will be remembered as the first summer season in which people will be able to move freely and without fear.Also Read – How to do Char Dham Yatra via Helicopter? Here’s Your Guide For The Best Experience!

3 Positive Trends to Promote Travel and Tourism During the Summers:

  • Destinations and accommodation options

Travelers are eager to resume large bucket trips with their friends and family after a two-year pause caused by the coronavirus pandemic. This summer travel season, combined with the upcoming long weekends, has prompted individuals to book vacations for a relaxing and refreshing respite from the monotony of daily life. While individuals enjoy a variety of lodging alternatives, hotels account for 80% of bookings for summer, while alternative lodgings such as villas, cottages, and homestays account for 20%. Overall, hotel bookings have reached 90% of pre-covid levels, and the trend is continuing. Also Read – Man Tours Entire India in 9 Months With Only Rs 12,000 During the Pandemic. Here’s How

  • International and Domestic bookings

With international flights resumed and traveller trust restored, an average rise of 85 percent in domestic flight bookings and 95 percent in international flight bookings compared to pre-crisis levels. Further investigation reveals that friends and family account for the majority of domestic travel, accounting for 40% of booking inquiries. Also Read – Best Places to Visit in Ras Al Khaimah, UAE For Kids, Couples, Cultural Nomads And Adventure Junkies

The most popular domestic destinations among travellers are:

  1. Ladakh
  2. Himachal Pradesh
  3. The Northeast
  4. Kashmir

Top overseas destinations for travellers during summer are:

  1. Paris
  2. Switzerland
  3. Thailand
  4. Singapore
  5. Bali
  6. Dubai
  7. Mauritius
  • Company offers and packages

Domestic and international destinations provide distinct experiences, and the travel and hospitality industry is ready to attract more visitors by, among other things, delivering individualised services and packages. Various campaigns encourage and inspire people to travel and experience different domestic and international destinations.

“The arrival of summer season along with a positive outlook of travelers after two years has brought a sense of relief to the travel and hospitality industry. With people exhilarated on taking trips to various offbeat destinations, Yatra.com has witnessed an increase in booking demands by 70% especially for leisure cities. To beat the scorching summer heat, people are making travel plans with friends to take up water adventure sports such as Coasteering, White Water Rafting, Windsurfing, and Jet Skiing this summer season,” says Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder of, and COO, of Yatra Online.

(Authored article by Sabina Chopra, Co-Founder of, and COO, of Yatra Online)





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