As omicron fuels surge of new cases, Americans face more travel woes and dashed plans

The United States on Thursday surpassed 550,000 covid-19 cases newly reported by states, underscoring the lightning spread of the coronavirus across the country, surge with the highly transmissible omicron variant triggering a familiar round of restrictions, disruptions and uncertainty heading into the pandemic’s third year.

The spike in infections continues to snarl travel plans. Train and air passengers saw cancellations on Amtrak and across major airlines Thursday as infection rates worsened crew shortages; by Thursday evening, about 1,300 flights in the United States were canceled, according to flight tracking website Flight travel Aware.

Travelers looking to escape aboard a cruise ship faced equally dire news after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised vacationers to avoid cruises after a spike in cases on U.S.-based ships.

There is some good news on the horizon on the vaccine front: The Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech booster shots for 12- to 15-year-olds shortly after the new year.

While the Johnson & Johnson booster was shown in one South African study to curb 85 percent of hospitalizations amid the omicron wave.

Eric Adams, New York’s mayor  city’s first surge.

The number of daily pediatric covid hospital admissions in the United States surpassed 1,200 on Wednesday, according to Post data, approaching highs last seen in the summer. However, doctors have said that despite record positive results from children’s coronavirus tests, the vast majority of cases have been mild.

As coronavirus cases began to surge throughout the United States in mid-December, leaders of the Oxford Hills School District in rural Maine discovered an alarming statistic: The in-school transmission rate at a small elementary had risen to 70 percent.

District nurses had never seen such a high figure in their many months of tallying numbers. Whereas before most of the exposures to positive cases were traced to community events, now they were being connected back to the school itself. Of the 116 students at Otisfield Community School, 102 needed to quarantine.

surge, already under strain discourage travel.

Hospitals in the greater Washington region are discouraging people who are asymptomatic or have mild covid-19 symptoms from seeking coronavirus tests in emergency rooms and urgent care offices, which are already struggling to treat severely ill patients while short staffed.

Amid a surge in coronavirus infections, emergency medicine physicians are seeing a sharp increase in patients seeking tests — many of whom were unable to access testing elsewhere even as workplaces and schools require negative tests to return.

“Do not come to the hospital looking to get tested,” said Bill Grimes, a vice president at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center, pointing to wait times as long as eight hours because of people “who frankly don’t need to be there.”Canadian provinces tighten restrictions, limit testing amid soaring covid-19 cases

In Quebec, the hardest-hit province, Premier François Legault announced that a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. will begin Friday. Restaurants will be limited to takeout only, and private gatherings will be barred. Places of worship must close, except for funerals no larger than 25 people travel.

The province previously a in January and lifted it in May.

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, said Thursday that it would limit publicly funded PCR tests to the most vulnerable residents who are symptomatic or to those who work in high-risk settings such as hospitals to ease pressure on inundated testing and tracing systems. Symptomatic residents who don’t belong to those groups have been asked to take rapid antigen tests, which are also hard to come by travel.

“We must preserve those resources for those that need it the most,” Kieran Moore, the province’s chief medical officer of health, said at a virtual news conference.

Ontario, along with Saskatchewan surge:

Also shortened the isolation period for most people who have tested positive for coronavirus infection and who are fully vaccinated from 10 to five days.

Several provinces across the country have pushed back the return to school or temporarily shifted to online learning.

The state on Wednesday reported 46,923 new cases from Tuesday, as the omicron surge nearly doubled Florida’s previous peak over the summer. The state, which broke the record for new daily infections that was just set on Christmas Eve, is now averaging more than 30,300 new covid-19 cases a day, according to data tracked by The Washington Post — second in the nation to New York.