Greetings from cloudy and cool Southern California. The high temperatures have finally started to break so it’s kind of feeling like autumn (the emphasis on ‘kind of’ because the high is still 70F along the coast and the low is 61F). But it’s supposed to get even “colder” next week, when temperatures dip to 66/54F. I can’t remember the last time I wore pants but I’m pretty sure it was early March before we went into quarantine.

Ireland Entering a 6-Week Lockdown
Except for some medical experts, I don’t think anyone really thought we would still be in this mess seven months later and unfortunately, it just doesn’t seem like it’s getting better. COVID-19 cases are spiking and not just in the United States but around the globe. Ireland went into lockdown yesterday, making it Europe’s first country to return to a nationwide lockdown … and it’s for six weeks! “Nonessential retail businesses are ordered to close. Residents are expected to stay within about 3 miles of their homes, except for work and other essential activities.” Source

Europe’s Second COVID-19 Wave
They’re not alone. Per the Economist, “For a few months this summer it was almost possible for Europeans to believe that life had returned to normal. Parisian museums and Barcelona’s cafés were open, if less crowded. Germans, Dutch and Danes jetted off to holidays on Mediterranean beaches. In August and September, as children across the continent returned to school, COVID-19 infections began to rise. Yet governments, worried about a backlash, chose not to reintroduce harsh social-distancing measures. Their decision has had a price. A second wave of COVID-19 is now washing over Europe. In many countries the daily numbers of confirmed cases exceed their spring peaks, though this is mostly because there is a lot more testing; death rates are substantially lower.”

Why Hawaii’s COVID-19 Testing to Avoid Quarantine Isn’t Going to Last Long
Thank God the number of COVID deaths in the United States is lower than it was in the spring, but because the number of cases is so out of control, travel is just not worth the risk for some. If I didn’t have two young kids and a history of asthma, I would have been on the first flight to Hawaii on October 15th to report on what it was like when they dropped their quarantine (I was invited by an airline). Sadly, I’m not confident that their new tactics to get travelers to the island by getting tested in advance to avoid quarantine are going to work. Read the story here.

Canadian Border to Remain Closed
The U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to nonessential travel through November 21. “At present, individuals involved in cross-border trade and transport are exempt, as are other “essential” personnel — including health care staff and emergency officials — and individuals who transit the border daily for work or to obtain basic necessities, such as food or medicine. The acting secretary also stated that the U.S. government is working with the Canadian and Mexican governments to ease the existing restrictions in the future. The border restrictions, which do not apply to air travel, were initially enacted on 21 March and had been set to expire on 21 October after multiple renewals on a monthly basis.” Source: UHC Global.

Translation: Canada isn’t opening their border until the U.S. gets COVID-19 under control and sadly, that doesn’t look like it’s going to be soon. If I were a betting man, I would say they will open the border in April but please God, let it be sooner. We miss our Canadian friends and family.

TSA Throughput Breaks the One Million Mark
I just can’t figure out the data on U.S. air travel. The good news is that on Sunday, October 18, the U.S. crossed over the one million mark as TSA screened 1,031,505 people at security checkpoints nationwide. “It’s the first time volume topped 1 million since the pandemic low point of April 14, when 87,534 people were screened. It’s still 60% lower throughput than one year ago.” Read my post on the milestone.

But looking at the numbers from the past several days, I’m scratching my head. The numbers on the left are the Total Traveler Throughput and the number on the right is Total Traveler Throughput (1 Year Ago – Same Weekday)” Keep in mind that those numbers are not just for passengers but also account for everyone who goes through security, including airport workers and airline crew.

Date     Total Traveler Throughput        Total Traveler Throughput (1 Year Ago – Same Weekday)

10/22/2020    934,386    2,541,581

10/21/2020    694,150    2,245,199

10/20/2020    662,484    2,126,637

10/19/2020    921,031    2,514,673

10/18/2020    1,031,505    2,606,266

10/17/2020    788,743    2,049,855

10/16/2020    973,046    2,637,667

10/15/2020    950,024    2,581,007

10/14/2020    717,940    2,317,763

10/13/2020    680,894    2,313,632

Is Airplane Air…

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