Omicron Variant Forces United Airlines To Cancel More Than 100 Christmas Eve Flights

The nationwide spike in Omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our flight crews and the people who run our operation. As a result, we’ve unfortunately had to cancel some flights and are notifying impacted customers in advance of them coming to the airport,” the airline released in a statement.

United Airlines has canceled more than 100 flights on Christmas Eve and Christmas with just hours notice before many were expecting to take off. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed to CBS4’s Dillon Thomas that the cancellations were due to an outbreak of COVID-19 throughout the airline’s crew.

United is Colorado’s largest commercial airline provider and is also one of the largest hubs in the world for the major airline.

The COVID-19 Omricon variant was first detected in the United States less than one month ago and is now linked to nearly three-quarters of all positive COVID-19 cases in the country. The variant is said to carry less severe symptoms on average than the Delta variant. However, researchers say it is more contagious and has an easier time breaking through the available COVID-19 vaccines.

During the busiest travel season of the year, United promised to work as hard as possible to get as many customers rebooked as they can.

“We’re sorry for the disruption and are working hard to rebook as many people as possible and get them on their way for the holidays.”

Breckenridge Sends City Employees To Work From Home As Cases Surge In Summit County

The Summit County data dashboard shows exclamation points next to their new positivity rate (22.6%), and case rank in the state (13th worst out of 88). Health leaders are trying to draw attention to the massive rise in cases in the last two weeks.

They expect things are going to get worse before they get better, considering holiday gatherings.

“It’s raging right now. It is absolutely raging,” explained Breckenridge Mayor Eric Mamula.

Mamula and the city decided it was best for city employees to work from home again, as they are able to do so while keeping city services running.

“To set the right message, and to protect the staff really,” Mamula said.

According to Summit County Health Department Data, the 14-day total cases per 100,000 have an almost 450% increase over the last 60 days. More than half of that spike happened in the last 13 days.

While that’s concerning for Mamula, he told CBS4 Mountain Newsroom Reporter Spencer Wilson it’s something they’ve learned how to fight.

“I think we learned a lot over this last year in a half, while it is raging, it does not seem to be as deadly as the variants that have come before,” Mamula said.

He believes the county’s high vaccination rate will help keep the local hospitals from being overwhelmed, although the number of tourists with unknown vaccination statuses does worry him.

“We go from 4,000 residents to 35,000 people in the course of a couple of hours.”

He said that fluctuating population can lead to uncertain levels of protection in crowded areas, which is why he suggested people be smart about wearing a mask, although it is not mandated.

“If you are going to the grocery store, wear a mask. Post office, wear a mask. Crowded place, wear a mask.”

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