Time to tip-off for several area high school teams


Area prep high school basketball bursts into full action — for the most part — this week.

Unless it’s tournament or Saturday play, the normal schedule is a 6:30 p.m. tipoff for the varsity girls games, followed by an 8 p.m. time for the varsity boys.

Following is a list of some of the games on Tuesday: Caney Valley at Barnsdall; Copan at South Coffeyville.

Thursday’s slate lists Sperry at Dewey.

Friday’s schedule is nearly full: Nowata at Dewey, Caney Valley at Oklahoma Union, Foyil at Copan and Barnsdall at Bluejacket.

The Bartlesville High boys play a single game Saturday in Texas.

The Bartlesville boys and girls will travel Dec. 7 to Jenks.

Following is a focus on one of Tuesday’s games.

Girls: Caney Valley at Barnsdall

The Caney Valley Lady Trojans boast both quality experience and fresh talent.

Caney Valley’s tentative starting five, according to veteran head coach Deric Longan, will be led by lone senior Jill Emery, a post forward. First-string juniors include forward Sammi Gilbreath and guards Jade Upton and Kaci Sumner.

Rounding out the starters is 6-foot sophomore forward Chloe Scherman, who came on strong toward the end of last season.

Longan’s three primary reserves coming into the season are sophomores Libby Thompson, Amaya Toftee and Myah Edwards.

One huge asset Longan enjoys this season is genetic verticality.

“Our size is going to be a big bonus for us,” Longan said, noting Scherman is the true center the program hasn’t had for a while. “As we become better ballhandlers and just continue to grow as a team throughout the season, I think developing depth will be one of our strengths.”

In order to prevent teams from clogging up the middle defensively, Longan said all his guards “have the green light,” to shoot the long ball.

He credits the quality of his players during the past decade-plus, and the leadership of upper classmen in instilling a winning tradition in the attitude of younger players, as keys to the program’s consistent success.

“On a night in and night out basis they give everything they have,” he said about the type of players that have populated his program. “They do what’s necessary.”

Sherman has prepared herself with hard work in the off-season, Longan added.

He also praised the mindset of the girls that came off the softball diamond and joined the team.

Longan expects Barnsdall to play with great intensity.

“The way I’ve explained it to our girls is that Barnsdall always comes with a fierceness, a toughness and grit, and if you don’t match their intensity, they can give you fits. I’m happy to get underway.”

Note: Numerous phone calls to Barnsdall head coach Wade Corder seeking information about his players and team were unanswered and several messages unreturned.



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Omicron: WHO warns COVID variant risk ‘very high’ – Live | Coronavirus pandemic News


A three-day special session of the World Health Assembly (WHA) has kicked off on Monday to discuss pandemic preparedness and response, amid concerns over the spread of the new Omicron variant.

The WHA normally meets in May but a special session was called for in a decision adopted by the World Health Organization member states.

A draft resolution currently under review stops short of calling for the establishment of a “pandemic treaty” or a “legally binding instrument”, which proponents say would beef up the international response to pandemics.

The WHO has warned against countries hastily imposing travel curbs. However, bans have been introduced in recent days including by the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States.

Here are the latest updates:


Hospitalisations in Michigan surge

Michigan’s number of hospitalized adults with confirmed COVID-19 cases reached a new pandemic high of nearly 4,200 as the state continued to confront surging infections.

The total of 4,181 surpassed the previous record of 4,158, which was set seven months ago during the state’s third wave.

Only Minnesota had a higher seven-case case rate than Michigan as of Sunday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State health officials are urging people to get vaccinated and to wear masks in public settings to limit the spread of the coronavirus amid the fourth surge. The federal government has deployed military medical staffers to help Michigan hospitals cope.

The federal government has deployed military medical staffers to help Michigan hospitals cope [File: Emily Elconin/Reuters]

Cuba tightens restrictions on eight African nation

Cuba will ratchet up restrictions from December 4 on passengers from certain African countries over concerns about the Omicron coronavirus variant, the country’s Communist-run government said on Monday.

Travelers arriving from South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Malawi, and Mozambique will be allowed to enter Cuba, the country’s health ministry said, but will be required to comply with multiple precautionary measures, including proof of vaccination, three PCR tests and a seven-day quarantine.


France reports biggest jump in hospital patients since spring

France registered its biggest jump in coronavirus-related hospital admissions since the spring, health ministry data showed.

The number of patients in intensive care units with COVID-19 jumped by 117 to 1,749 people, the biggest increase since March-April, when the ICU number rose by more than 100 per day on several days.

The French health minister last week said that France has entered a fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The French health minister last week said that France has entered a fifth wave of the COVID-19 epidemic [File: Stephane Mahe/Reuters]

WHO warns that new virus variant poses ‘very high’ risk

The World Health Organization says the global risk from the omicron variant of the coronavirus is “very high” based on early evidence, and it could lead to surges with “severe consequences.”

The UN health agency, in a technical memo to member states, says “considerable uncertainties” remain about the new variant that was first detected in southern Africa. But it says the likelihood of possible further spread around the world is high.


Canada’s Quebec province discovers first case of Omicron

Quebec has discovered its first case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, the Canadian province’s health minister said on Monday, bringing Canada’s total number of cases to three.

Quebec Health Minister Christian Dube also told reporters at a briefing that 115 travellers from countries affected by the new variant, primarily South Africa, were called and asked to take a new PCR test for COVID-19.


Omicron ‘not a cause for panic’: Biden

President Joe Biden in a televised address from the White House said the Omicron coronavirus strain “is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic”.

“We have more tools today to fight the variant than we’ve ever had before,” he said, while adding that his chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci expected current vaccines would remain protective, with boosters enhancing protection.

The US president appealed to the roughly 80 million unvaccinated Americans aged five and up to get their shots, and for the rest of the country to seek out booster shots six months after their second dose.

Biden also urged Americans to get back to wearing face masks in all indoor public settings – a pandemic precaution that has fallen out of use across much of the country.

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting with his COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC [Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images via AFP]

Sweden reports first confirmed case of Omicron

One case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been detected in Sweden, the Public Health Agency said.

The case was detected in a test taken just over a week ago from a person who had travelled from South Africa, the agency said in a statement.


Omicron: Are gov’ts prepared to deal with a new COVID variant?

Countries around the world have reimposed travel restrictions in response to new Omicron variant.

They were starting to reopen their borders and lift COVID-19 restrictions. But a new variant is now threatening to derail the progress made in the past few months.

Several nations have already imposed travel restrictions to and from Southern Africa, where the Omicron variant was first detected.

Watch here.


UN’s Gutteres ‘deeply concerned’ by curbs on Southern Africa

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Monday he was “deeply concerned” as countries around the world imposed travel restrictions on Southern Africa in an attempt to stop the spread of a worrying new COVID-19 variant discovered there.

“The people of Africa cannot be blamed for the immorally low level of vaccinations available in Africa – and they should not be penalized for identifying and sharing crucial science and health information with the world,” the UN chief said in a statement.

“I am now deeply concerned about the isolation of southern African countries due to new Covid-19 travel restrictions,” Guterres added.


Spain detects first case of Omicron variant

Spain has detected its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in a traveller coming from South Africa, Spanish newspaper El Pais reported.

The case of the new variant was sequenced by Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon hospital, according to a tweet by its microbiology unit, adding that the patient was in a fair condition.

Spain has recorded at least 5.1 million cases since the pandemic began [File: Javier Barbancho/Reuters]

Moderna says Omicron vaccine could be ready by early 2022

Moderna Inc is having its best two-day rally in a year after the company said a new vaccine to fight the Omicron strain of the coronavirus could be ready by early 2022 if required.

The stock soared as much as 14 percent to the highest level in two months, after jumping 21 percent during Friday’s global risk-asset sell-off, to reclaim its place as top performer on the S&P 500 year to date. The company mobilised hundreds of workers on Thanksgiving Day last Thursday in order to start work on Omicron, Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton said over the weekend.

Read more here.


US stocks rebound after Friday’s Omicron-fuelled sell-off

The major stock indexes in the United States rebounded on Monday after fears about the potential economic effects of the Omicron COVID-19 variant triggered a steep sell-off on Friday.

At the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 118 points or 0.34 percent at 35,017.71, according to Refinitiv data.

Read more here.


‘Highly transmissible’ Omicron requires ‘urgent action’: G7

The Omicron variant is highly transmissible and requires “urgent action,” G7 health ministers said, while applauding South Africa’s “exemplary work” for both detecting the strain and alerting others to it.

“The global community is faced with the threat of a new, at a first evaluation, highly transmissible variant of COVID-19, which requires urgent action,” the health ministers said in a statement following an emergency meeting.

Underlining the “strategic relevance of ensuring access to vaccines”, they pledged to hold to their donation commitments, as well as to provide support to research and development.


UK vaccine advisers say all adults to receive boosters

Britain will offer a COVID-19 booster vaccine to all adults and give second doses to children aged between 12 and 15, the UK’s top vaccine advisers said on Monday, accelerating shots in light of concern about the spread of the Omicron variant.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said that all adults between 18-39 years old could receive shots, extending a programme that is already open for over 40s.

“Having a booster dose of the vaccine will help to increase our level of protection against the Omicron variant,” said Wei Shen Lim, the JCVI’s Chair for COVID-19 immunisation.

JCVI advised a largely age-based approach to the booster programme, with older adults as well as vulnerable people prioritised for shots [File: Neil Hall/EPA]

Dutch find 14 Omicron cases among passengers from South Africa

Netherlands health authorities say they have found another case of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant among passengers arriving from South Africa, bringing the total to 14.

“With the help of sequencing, it has now been confirmed in 14 people that it is the Omicron variant,” Health Minister Hugo de Jonge said in a letter to parliament.

De Jonge had on Sunday announced 13 Omicron infections. They were among 61 passengers who were confirmed with coronavirus, out of 624 travellers who arrived in Amsterdam on two KLM flights from South Africa on Friday.


Biden to provide update on Omicron, US response: AJ correspondent

United States President Joe Biden is expected to give a speech on Monday to address the Omicron variant and measures required to curb its spread.

“What we expect is that the president will be urging the 80 million Americans still not vaccinated to get vaccinated, to get a booster,” Al Jazeera’s correspondent Kimberley Halkett reported from the White House.

“But what we think is the president will stop short of putting in place further travel restrictions with respect to international travel as well as domestic travel,” she added.

INTERACTIVE- COVID19 - How Omicron comparesAl Jazeera

Poland announces new curbs amid Omicron concerns

Poland said it would ban flights to seven African countries, extend the quarantine period for certain travellers and reduce limits on numbers allowed into places like restaurants.

“We must appreciate the importance of this phenomenon and the risk that a new mutation emerging poses,” Health Minister Adam Niedzielski told a news conference.


China’S Xi pledges 1bn Covid vaccine doses for Africa

President Xi Jinping has offered one billion coronavirus vaccine doses to Africa, in a speech made via videolink to a China-Africa summit in Senegal’s capital Dakar.

The Chinese leader said that his country would donate 600 million doses directly. Meanwhile, a further 400 million doses would come from other sources.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (on the screen) delivers his speech during the China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) meeting in Dakar, Senegal, on November 29, 2021 [Seyllou/AFP]

Ukraine orders self-isolation for travellers from countries with Omicron cases

Ukraine has introduced mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travellers returning from countries where the Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected, the health ministry said.

“Travellers who have spent more than seven days in the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Kingdom of Eswatini, and the Republic of Mozambique must complete 14 days of self-isolation,” it said in a statement, adding that the list would be expanded soon.

Health Minister Viktor Liashko told a televised briefing earlier on Monday that cases of the Omicron variant had not been registered in Ukraine yet.


Vaccines should give good protection against Omicron: South African expert

Existing COVID-19 vaccines should be highly effective at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation from the newly identified Omicron variant, a top South African infectious disease expert said.

Professor Salim Abdool Karim, who served as the government’s chief adviser during the initial response to the pandemic, also said it was too early to say whether Omicron led to more severe clinical symptoms than previous variants.

However, he said it did appear more contagious and more likely to infect people with immunity from vaccination or prior infection, and he was expecting it to drive new daily infections in the country above 10,000 before the end of the week, from 2,858 on Sunday.

“Based on what we know and how the other variants of concern have reacted to vaccine immunity, we can expect that we will still see high effectiveness for hospitalisation and severe disease, and that protection of the vaccines is likely to remain strong,” Abdool Karim told a news conference.

Preventing severe disease is mainly a function of T-cell immunity, different from the antibody immunity that often blocks infections, “so even if there’s some escape from antibodies it’s very hard to escape T-cell immunity”, he said.


South Africa says travel ban by African nations ‘regrettable’

South Africa says it is “regrettable” that fellow African nations have joined a rush to impose travel bans over the new Omicron variant.

“It is quite regrettable, very unfortunate, and I will even say sad, to be talking about travel restrictions imposed by a fellow African country,” foreign ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said on Monday.

Angola, Mauritius, Rwanda and the Seychelles have halted flights from South Africa in a bid to shield themselves from the spread of the new COVID-19 variant.

Monyela said South Africa had recently made “substantial donations” of vaccines to some of the countries that were now imposing flight bans.

“When a fellow African country does that, especially in the context where most of these countries are beneficiaries … it doesn’t make sense,” he told an online news conference organised by the health ministry.

“That’s why we think these decision must be reversed immediately.”

A healthcare worker assists a traveller to obtain his test results after conducting a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 test at OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg on November 27, 2021 [Phill Magakoe / AFP]

Portugal probes local transmission of Omicron among football team

Portuguese health authorities have identified 13 cases of Omicron among members of a top football club and have ordered those who have been in contact with the positive cases to isolate and be regularly tested.

The national health institute said on Monday that one of those who tested positive was a player from the Lisbon-based Belenenses SAD football club who had recently been to South Africa, where Omicron was first identified. The others had not travelled to South Africa.

Portuguese health authorities are investigating whether this is one of the first cases of local transmission outside of Southern Africa.

Portugal also found two positive coronavirus cases when it screened 218 passengers arriving in Lisbon from the capital of Mozambique on Saturday. One of the cases was the Delta variant and the other one could not be established, authorities said.


WHO chief calls for ‘legally binding’ agreement to help prevent future pandemics

The WHO chief says the spread of Omicron is a “test of our collective ability to respond to future pandemics” and called for a “legally binding” agreement to coordinate collective action.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHA opening session: “Omicron demonstrates just why the world needs a new accord on pandemics,” adding that “courageous and compassionate leadership” and an “unshakeable commitment to solidarity” will be fundamental.

Tedros said “our current system disincentivises countries from alerting others to threats that will inevitably land on their shores” after many countries announced travel restrictions to and from Southern Africa.

He also criticised the inequitable distribution of vaccines, saying access for all was necessary to limit the spread of the virus and its mutations.


Germany’s Angela Merkel calls for funding increase to WHO

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for a 50-percent increase in funding to the WHO.

Speaking at the opening session of the WHA, Merkel called for a binding international accord on preventing pandemics.

Germany’s outgoing chancellor added that a global approach was needed to prevent the spread of a virus that “knows no borders”.


South Africa ramping up to cope with Omicron

South Africa’s Health Minister Joe Phaahla says the government is doing everything possible to prepare health facilities to cope with Omicron and scientists are working to establish whether it is more transmissible and whether vaccines can protect against severe illness.

Phaahla also said, at the news conference on Monday, officials are engaging with countries that imposed travel restrictions on Southern African countries to try to get them to reverse them.

South African epidemiologist Salim Abdool Karim also said on Monday that not enough data had been collected to determine the clinical implications of Omicron compared with previous variants, and that reinfections are likely but that vaccinated people had less probability of developing serious symptoms.

“Based on what we know and how the other variants of concern have reacted to vaccine immunity, we can expect that we will still see high effectiveness for hospitalisation and severe disease, and that protection of the vaccines is likely to remain strong,” Abdool Karim told a news conference.


WHO says Omicron poses ‘very high’ global risk, countries must prepare

The WHO says “the overall global risk related to … Omicron is … very high” and that it is likely to spread internationally with “severe consequences” in some areas.

In technical advice to its 194 member states, the UN health agency on Monday urged them to accelerate the vaccination of high priority groups and to “ensure mitigation plans are in place” to maintain essential health services.

Further research is needed to better understand Omicron’s potential to evade the immunity induced by vaccines and previous infections. More data is expected in the coming weeks.


Six cases of Omicron identified in Scotland

Six cases of Omicron have been identified in Scotland, the Scottish government says, adding that public health officials are working to investigate.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said at a press conference on Monday that not all of the identified cases had a recent travel history or known links with others who have travelled to the countries in Southern Africa where the variant was originally detected.

“This suggests that there might already be some community transmission of this variant in Scotland,” Sturgeon said. “But again, let me stress, there is no evidence yet that this is sustained, nor any evidence from the enhanced surveillance that it is widespread at this stage.”


Britain to unveil new booster guidance as Omicron spreads

Britain is set to unveil new guidance on extending the rollout of COVID-19 booster shots to those under 40 on Monday, in light of the rapid spread of Omicron.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has restricted travel to Southern Africa, tightened testing rules and made mask-wearing compulsory in shops and on transport.

He also asked the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation to urgently review boosters for under-40s, and look at reducing the gap between second doses and boosters.

Britain, which currently holds the G7 presidency, has called for an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the new COVID strain.


Dr Angelique Coetzee: Omicron causing ‘very mild symptoms’ in people who are vaccinated

Dr Angelique Coetzee, who first spotted the new COVID-19 variant in South Africa, says that so far, people infected with Omicron have “very mild symptoms”, especially those who were inoculated after August.

Coetzee, of the South African Medical Association, said Omicron had raised concerns due to its more than 30 mutations, which might hinder vaccine effectiveness.

While it might take weeks for scientists to understand the implications of the new variant, hospital admissions in South Africa remain low, raising hopes that the new variant will not lead to increased hospitalisation rates.

Speaking to Al Jazeera’s Fahmida Miller, Coetzee said the travel bans imposed on South Africa were “extremely premature”.


Dutch police arrest couple attempting to flee quarantine for Spain

Dutch police have arrested a married couple attempting to flee the country after testing positive for COVID-19. It was unclear whether the couple had tested positive for Omicron.

The Spanish man and Portuguese woman had left a quarantine hotel and were trying to fly to Spain. They were arrested “in an aeroplane that was about to depart,” the military police said in a statement.

Dozens of passengers who tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving on two flights from South Africa on Friday are being kept in quarantine at a hotel near Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.


Singapore, Malaysia reopen land border

Singapore and Malaysia have reopened one of the world’s busiest land borders, allowing vaccinated travellers to cross after nearly two years of being shut due to the pandemic and amid concerns the border might close again due to Omicron.

Under the latest arrangement, up to 1,440 travellers from either side can cross the land border per day without quarantine, if they hold citizenship, permanent residency or long-term visas in the destination country.

Travel requirements include testing negative for COVID-19 before departure and an on-arrival test. Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said a traveller had tested positive to a rapid antigen test, and that some COVID cases were inevitable.


Singapore blocks Middle East airlines

Singapore has deferred the start of vaccinated travel lanes with Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in view of their role as “transport nodes” for affected countries, its health ministry says.


US scientist Fauci defends travel ban on African countries

US infectious diseases expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, has defended the Biden administration’s travel restrictions in response to Omicron.

The US plans to ban travel from South Africa and seven other Southern African countries starting from Monday. Fauci stressed the purpose of any travel ban was to buy time to ramp up preparedness, urging not to let the measure “go without a positive effect”.


First suspected case of Omicron detected in Switzerland

Switzerland’s first probable Omicron case has been detected, as the country tightens its entry restrictions to check the spread.

The case is a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa a week ago, the Federal Office for Public Health said on Twitter. Testing will clarify the situation in the coming days, it added.

Switzerland has said travellers from 19 countries must present a negative test when boarding a flight to the country and must quarantine for 10 days on arrival. The list includes Australia, Britain, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Israel, and South Africa.


New variant not stopping New Zealand reopening

The emergence of Omicron has not changed New Zealand’s plans to ease restrictions in Auckland and move into a new, more open phase of its pandemic response, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says.

Bars, restaurants and gyms in Auckland can reopen from late Thursday, ending a coronavirus lockdown that began in August.

Around the country, a new “traffic light” system will bring an end to lockdowns, but people will need to be fully vaccinated in order to do anything from getting a haircut to watching a concert.


Japan to bar foreign arrivals over virus variant

Japan says it will bar entry to foreigners, joining Israel in the strictest border measures yet since the discovery of Omicron.

Tokyo already announced it would require travellers permitted to enter Japan from six Southern African countries to quarantine in government-designated facilities for 10 days on arrival.

Japan’s borders have been almost entirely shut to overseas visitors for most of the pandemic, with even foreign residents at one point unable to enter.

No Omicron cases have been detected in the country so far. One traveller from Namibia tested positive for the coronavirus, and further tests were being conducted to find out if it was from the new variant, Health Minister Shigeyuki Goto said.

Read the previous live blog here





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Airport screenings reach pandemic high


Airports are busy again, and air travel is inching closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Driven by pre-Thanksgiving travel, 2.3 million people passed through airport screenings Wednesday in what the Transportation Security Administration said was its busiest day since travel plummeted to coronavirus lows in April 2020.

That is more than double the 1.1 million people who went through TSA checkpoints a year earlier on the day before Thanksgiving, according to a TSA database.

It’s also 12 percent below the number of travelers screened on the equivalent day in 2019, when TSA checkpoint workers saw 2.6 million people a few months before the pandemic.

The day before Thanksgiving is typically among the busiest travel days of the year, along with the days after the holiday as people return home.

The TSA has hired 6,000 new officers this year and has enough staff to deal with the increase in passenger volumes, Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokesperson, told Reuters.

“So staffing, while we are hiring, will not slow people down this holiday season,” Dankers said.

Still, airlines advised passengers to arrive at airports early in case of long security lines. Delta Air Lines suggested two-plus hours early for domestic flights and three-plus hours early for international flights.



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EVV anticipating high holiday travel numbers


EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) – Perhaps no industry was hit harder by the pandemic than airlines.

Airports around the country are seeing a return to pre-pandemic air travel numbers this holiday season.

With health officials urging people to maintain social distancing, the number of flights in 2020 was less-than half of what it was the year before.

Evansville Regional Airport Executive Director Nate Hahn says airlines are expecting a big rebound this year.

“We’ve really come back from COVID in a lot of good ways,” Hahn said. “We’re about 75 to 80 percent of where we were in 2019, which was a banner year for us.”

Hahn says Allegiant Air and American Airlines add flights at EVV for Thanksgiving, which helps as the number of people flying goes up around holidays.

“The Thanksgiving holiday season is always the busiest travel time of the year,” Hahn said. “That Sunday is typically the busiest travel day of the year, and we expect that to continue this year.”

Hahn says a big day for EVV is around six or seven hundred passengers.

At bigger airports around the country, that number is much higher around the holidays, and passengers are already experiencing packed airports.

“I came from Denver, Colorado,” said Katie Kraft, who flew into Evansville Monday on a connecting flight from Chicago. “I got there at like 5:30 this morning and the line for security was literally out the door. There’s a lot of people traveling this year, especially compared to last year.”

“In Charlotte at the airport, it was like people were running stoplights,” said William Rideout, who flew in from Charlotte via Boston.

The busiest weekend for airlines doesn’t come without a cost; both a monetary cost and a commitment of time.

Kraft says she flew in early and is staying late due to the added costs.

“I’m trying to avoid the chaos and mainly just the prices. It was double to fly over the weekend as opposed to a Monday.”

Monday was a quiet day at EVV, but as the week goes on, officials say that will certainly change.

Due to the sudden resurgence of air travel this Thanksgiving weekend, Hahn encourages people to remain patient with airport staff.

Copyright 2021 WFIE. All rights reserved.



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What high COVID-19 transmission rates in most states means for you


**Related Video Above: Ohio’s top doctor: Now is time to get vaccinated before Thanksgiving.**

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The biggest travel time of the year is getting closer as Americans prepare for Thanksgiving. Currently, the transmission level of COVID-19 is high in 39 states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) COVID Data Tracker.

Although New York is one of those 39 states where community transmission is considered high, states with the highest percentages of transmission are two to four times higher than the Empire State.

The top five states where transmission levels are the highest include South Dakota where the seven-day average positivity rate is 15-19.9%, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, where the positivity rate for all four is between 10-14.9%, based on CDC data. New York’s rate is 3-4.9%.

There are also six other states that have a transmission rate between 10-14.9%. Below is a table showing states with a rate of 10% or higher.

State Community Transmission Seven-Day Case Rate
per 100,000
Seven-day
Percent Positivity
Arizona high 293.7 10-14.9%
Colorado high 361 10-14.9%
Idaho high 270 10-14.9%
Iowa high 277.7 10-14.9%
Michigan high 342.5 10-14.9%
Montana high 409.3 10-14.9%
Nebraska high 292.5 10-14.9%
Nevada high 179.8 10-14.9%
New Mexico high 393.5 10-14.9%
South Dakota high 283.8 15-19.9%
Utah high 359.2 10-14.9%
Source: CDC COVID Data Tracker

States with the lowest seven-day average positivity rate, less than 3%, are Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. Despite having a low positivity rate, Illinois, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island are all labeled areas of high community transmission by the CDC. Connecticut, Hawaii, and Louisiana have been labeled areas with substantial virus transmission, the second-highest warning label given by the CDC.

AAA is predicting Thanksgiving travel will once again rival pre-pandemic levels. They estimate 53.4 million Americans will travel for the holiday. The CDC recommends people be fully vaccinated before traveling but that may not be possible for people who haven’t started the Pfizer or Moderna’s two-shot COVID vaccine series. There is still enough time for people to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and be fully vaccinated by Thanksgiving if they do it by Wednesday, Nov. 10.

Need to know more about your Thanksgiving travel destination? Johns Hopkins University has a map that allows users to search a state down to county-level. They provide information on transmission level, more detailed case information, as well as how many ICU beds are available and how many are occupied by COVID-positive patients.

Planning on visiting the nation’s capital over the Thanksgiving Holiday? The District of Columbia has a less than 3% seven-day average positivity rate and has been labeled an area of substantial COVID transmission by the CDC.



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Pandemic travel news: US borders open as more of Europe is rated ‘very high’ risk


Francesca Street, CNN

After nearly 20 months of closed borders, the US finally opened to vaccinated international visitors on Monday, November 8.

But transatlantic travel remains an ever changing landscape, with this week also seeing more European destinations added to the CDC’s highest risk travel category.

And as European Covid cases continue to climb, one central European country is considering a lockdown for its unvaccinated population.

Here’s what you need to know about pandemic travel this week:

1. The US opened to vaccinated international travelers

It’s been a long time coming. Almost 20 months since the US banned many international visitors back in March 2020, fully vaccinated travelers from all over the world are finally able to return to the US.

That includes travelers coming from previously banned countries including the UK, as well as EU destinations.

To mark the occasion, Monday morning saw British Airways and Virgin Atlantic join forces to coordinate a historic dual airplane take-off.

The rival transatlantic airlines scheduled two A350 aircraft to depart London Heathrow at the same time, with BA christening its flight BA001, a number usually reserved for the historic Concorde.

Check out our guide to the new US travel rules here.

2. Thanksgiving travel is expected to rebound

For many, the return of international travel to the US means long-awaited family reunions, and some travelers will be timing their trip with Thanksgiving on November 25.

While Thanksgiving 2020 involved hunkering down at home, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts 2021 travel will rebound close to pre-pandemic levels. Some 53.4 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday — a 13% increase from last year.

Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and spokesperson for airplane tracker company Flight Aware, shared her tips for ensuring holiday travel goes smoothly, including booking flights that depart early in the day to avoid a cascading effect of delays and cancellations, and even booking a back-up flight for extra peace of mind.

See more tips here from Bangs and other experts about smooth and safe pandemic holiday travel.

3. The Netherlands has moved to the CDC’s highest-risk category

While transatlantic travel might be back on the table, it’s not without its complications.

This week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added two northwestern European countries to its list of “very high” risk travel destinations.

The Netherlands and Luxembourg were joined by two archipelagos in this week’s update to the CDC’s “Covid-19 Very High” Level 4 category. On Friday the Dutch government announced a three-week partial lockdown from Saturday, limiting access to shops, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Countries are designated Level 4 if they have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The CDC recommends people avoid traveling to Level 4 countries, and advises that anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first.

There’s been a surge of cases across Europe recently, which a WHO official said is “of grave concern.”

4. Austria considers implementing a lockdown for unvaccinated people

Austria, another European country on the CDC’s Level 4 list of “very high” risk travel destinations, is considering a lockdown for its unvaccinated population.

Unvaccinated people in Austria are already banned from certain public places, including entertainment venues, restaurants and hairdressers.

According to Johns Hopkins data, 64.3% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated. On Thursday November 11, the Austrian chancellor Alexander Schallenberg called the vaccination rate “shamefully low.”

“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means one cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, shopping for essentials, stretching one’s legs — namely exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020,” he said.

Schallenberg is pushing for this measure to be put in place ASAP.

5. Haunting image of coastal erosion wins Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021

This week, the winners of this year’s Environmental Photographer of the Year awards were announced at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow.

Taking the top spot was a haunting image by Spanish photographer Antonio Aragón Renuncio of a child sleeping in the ruins of a home eroded by rising sea levels on a beach in Togo, in West Africa.

“I’m very happy. It’s a huge honor to win such an important prize,” Aragón told CNN. “Especially one that’s related to the environment, which is a topic I’ve been working on for several years and which I’m very worried about.”

6. Myanmar plans to reopen to tourists, raising one big question

The Southeast Asian country of Myanmar plans to welcome back international tourists from early 2022, amid a complex domestic situation.

In addition to navigating the pandemic, Myanmar is also dealing with the aftereffects of a February 2021 coup in which a military junta overthrew the country’s democratically elected government.

“We are planning to reopen tourism for vaccinated tourists if plans are well-prepared for safe and convenient travel,” Zeyar Htun, deputy director of the Public Relations and Information Department at the military-run Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, confirmed to CNN Travel.

The US State Department currently has two Level Four “do not visit” alerts for Burma, as it refers to Myanmar: one for its high number of Covid cases, and one for the ongoing political situation.

All this raises one big question for Myanmar tourism.

7. Some travelers are turning their back on airplanes

And as discussions about tackling the climate crisis wrap up at COP26, some eco-conscious travelers are turning their backs on air travel.

Anna Hughes is the director of Flight Free UK, a campaign group that promotes alternative forms of travel beyond aviation.

As the group starts to encourage people to sign a pledge to remain flight free for 2022, there are “two distinct camps” of travelers, according to Hughes.

Find out which camp you fall in.

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CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Joseph Ataman, Chris Liakos, Anna Cooban, Chris Isidore, Geneva Sands, Julia Buckley, Forrest Brown, Rob Picheta, Sharon Braithwaite, Tara John, Nadine Schmidt, Lilit Marcus and Jeevan Ravindran contributed reporting



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Pandemic travel news: US borders open as more of Europe is rated ‘very high’ risk


(CNN) — After nearly 20 months of closed borders, the US finally opened to vaccinated international visitors on Monday, November 8.

But transatlantic travel remains an ever changing landscape, with this week also seeing more European destinations added to the CDC’s highest risk travel category.

And as European Covid cases continue to climb, one central European country is considering a lockdown for its unvaccinated population.

Here’s what you need to know about pandemic travel this week:

1. The US opened to vaccinated international travelers

The United States opened its borders to vaccinated international travelers after nearly 20 months. CNN spent the day in three US airports talking to travelers and their families about what it’s like to be able to see one another again.

It’s been a long time coming. Almost 20 months since the US banned many international visitors back in March 2020, fully vaccinated travelers from all over the world are finally able to return to the US.

That includes travelers coming from previously banned countries including the UK, as well as EU destinations.

To mark the occasion, Monday morning saw British Airways and Virgin Atlantic join forces to coordinate a historic dual airplane take-off.

The rival transatlantic airlines scheduled two A350 aircraft to depart London Heathrow at the same time, with BA christening its flight BA001, a number usually reserved for the historic Concorde.

Check out our guide to the new US travel rules here.

2. Thanksgiving travel is expected to rebound

Many families are coming together this holiday season for the first time in a long time. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta shares these tips on how to protect your loved ones from getting Covid-19.

For many, the return of international travel to the US means long-awaited family reunions, and some travelers will be timing their trip with Thanksgiving on November 25.

While Thanksgiving 2020 involved hunkering down at home, the American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts 2021 travel will rebound close to pre-pandemic levels. Some 53.4 million Americans are expected to travel for the holiday — a 13% increase from last year.

Kathleen Bangs, a former airline pilot and spokesperson for airplane tracker company Flight Aware, shared her tips for ensuring holiday travel goes smoothly, including booking flights that depart early in the day to avoid a cascading effect of delays and cancellations, and even booking a back-up flight for extra peace of mind.

3. The Netherlands has moved to the CDC’s highest-risk category

The Netherlands landed in the CDC's highest risk category for travel this week.

The Netherlands landed in the CDC’s highest risk category for travel this week.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

While transatlantic travel might be back on the table, it’s not without its complications.

This week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added two northwestern European countries to its list of “very high” risk travel destinations.

Countries are designated Level 4 if they have had more than 500 cases per 100,000 residents in the past 28 days. The CDC recommends people avoid traveling to Level 4 countries, and advises that anyone who must travel should be fully vaccinated first.

There’s been a surge of cases across Europe recently, which a WHO official said is “of grave concern.”

4. Austria considers implementing a lockdown for unvaccinated people

Austria is days away from ordering millions of unvaccinated people to stay at home, its chancellor has said, in a rare move that underscores the increasing exasperation of European leaders towards those who have not yet been inoculated against Covid-19. CNN’s Scott McLean reports.

Unvaccinated people in Austria are already banned from certain public places, including entertainment venues, restaurants and hairdressers.

According to Johns Hopkins data, 64.3% of Austria’s population is fully vaccinated. On Thursday November 11, the Austrian chancellor Alexander Schallenberg called the vaccination rate “shamefully low.”

People walk among Christmas lights on November 12, 2021, near Stephanplatz in Vienna, Austria.

People walk among Christmas lights on November 12, 2021, near Stephanplatz in Vienna, Austria.

Georg Hochmuth/AFP via Getty Images

“A lockdown for the unvaccinated means one cannot leave one’s home unless one is going to work, shopping for essentials, stretching one’s legs — namely exactly what we all had to suffer through in 2020,” he said.

Schallenberg is pushing for this measure to be put in place ASAP.

5. Haunting image of coastal erosion wins Environmental Photographer of the Year 2021

This week, the winners of this year’s Environmental Photographer of the Year awards were announced at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow.

“I’m very happy. It’s a huge honor to win such an important prize,” Aragón told CNN. “Especially one that’s related to the environment, which is a topic I’ve been working on for several years and which I’m very worried about.”

6. Myanmar plans to reopen to tourists, raising one big question

Myanmar is dealing with the pandemic and the aftereffects of a coup.

Myanmar is dealing with the pandemic and the aftereffects of a coup.

Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

The Southeast Asian country of Myanmar plans to welcome back international tourists from early 2022, amid a complex domestic situation.

In addition to navigating the pandemic, Myanmar is also dealing with the aftereffects of a February 2021 coup in which a military junta overthrew the country’s democratically elected government.

“We are planning to reopen tourism for vaccinated tourists if plans are well-prepared for safe and convenient travel,” Zeyar Htun, deputy director of the Public Relations and Information Department at the military-run Ministry of Hotels & Tourism, confirmed to CNN Travel.

The US State Department currently has two Level Four “do not visit” alerts for Burma, as it refers to Myanmar: one for its high number of Covid cases, and one for the ongoing political situation.

7. Some travelers are turning their back on airplanes

Anna Hughes is the director of Flight Free UK, a campaign group that promotes alternative forms of travel beyond aviation.

As the group starts to encourage people to sign a pledge to remain flight free for 2022, there are “two distinct camps” of travelers, according to Hughes.

CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Joseph Ataman, Chris Liakos, Anna Cooban, Chris Isidore, Geneva Sands, Julia Buckley, Forrest Brown, Rob Picheta, Sharon Braithwaite, Tara John, Nadine Schmidt, Lilit Marcus and Jeevan Ravindran contributed reporting



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High winds tip 13 vehicles over between Kadoka and Murdo | Local


The high winds gusting throughout western South Dakota Thursday have tipped over a least 13 vehicles along the state’s highway system, according to South Dakota Highway Patrol spokesman Tony Mangan.

Mangan said most of the vehicles were semi-trucks between Kadoka and Murdo along Interstate 90. 

“I have not heard of any injuries related to these crashes,” Mangan said.

A wind gust of 82 mph was reported one mile northeast of Midland in Haakon County, according to reports provided by the National Weather Service in Rapid City, the strongest gust report of the day as of 2:30 p.m. Thursday. 

Wind gusts of 78 mph were recorded near Belvidere and Cactus Flat while further north a wind gust of 58 mph was reported near Spearfish. 

Haakon County Sheriff Fred Koester said his office received a report of a truck that had been blown over at 8:30 a.m. Thursday along U.S. Highway 14.

Koester advised anyone driving a high profile vehicle — such as a camper, box truck, semi truck, or anything with a closed box trailer — to stay off the roads until the wind subsides. 

A high wind warning remained in effect for portions of southwestern South Dakota and northeast Wyoming until 9 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. 

The northwest winds of 40 to 50 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph, have the ability to blow down large trees and damage structures. Travel could be difficult, especially for high profile vehicles, the warning states. 

Strong winds will continue with gusts of 30 to 45 mph through Friday afternoon before taking a brief intermission overnight Friday through Saturday. Windy conditions are expected to return Saturday with possible light snow across the northern Black Hills, the National Weather Service said.



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Sky high: yoga on the London Eye | Travel


The upside-down London skyline — the Shard an icicle, clouds at its inverted tip — is not my normal yoga view. I spent the lockdowns doing virtual classes at home with the Texan Adriene Mishler, via YouTube. So, usually in a downward-dog pose, I’m fretting about the fluff under my sofa rather than admiring the scenery.

Today, however, I’m on the London Eye in a “wellness pod” taking part in a yoga class organised by the fitness company beloved of celebrities, Equinox. It’s the first time the London Eye has offered yoga classes. The 60-minute experience can be booked until November 18 and costs £37.50pp. It’s already proving popular — and I can see why.

Yoga with a view is big on Instagram. Search #yogaposes



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Baker High School band will travel to playoff game after all | Mobile County Alabama News


MOBILE, Ala. (WALA)- The Baker Hornets are playoff bound, but the team almost had to hit the road by themselves. Last night, we told you a bus driver shortage was forcing the baker hornet band to sit out the first-round game against Auburn. That all changed this morning

“Originally they searched everywhere and couldn’t find that but they were able to work out a deal with Wright’s Charter Service to get eight charter buses,” said Rena Philips.

Originally the football team was scheduled to take two school buses to Auburn leaving them six busses short for the band. The school system was working to find drivers for the band until Wright’s Charters called this morning saying their availability changed paving the way for the band to join their team.

“It’s been a very hard twenty months on our kids with everything that’s been going on in the world so for them to have that sense of normalcy and to get to go and celebrate their school at a playoff game is going to be a very joyous and exciting time for them,” said Philips.

Parents are also happy about today’s announcement. Tonya Rivera’s daughter is a senior on the dance team. After COVID slowed down her daughter’s season last year. She’s glad she’ll get to be part of this year’s playoff run.

“They had so much taken from them last year because of COVID and everything so they only go to do a couple of games,” said Rivera. “So for them to get to go be part of the playoffs is really cool.”

As the team, band, cheerleaders, and dance team all get ready to take this trip together, Rivera says she’s thankful everyone kept working to give all the seniors this moment.

“To have the support of the principal and the school just means a lot. This is their senior year and anything they get we really appreciate it,” said Rivera.





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