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Several hundred flights were canceled by Delta Air Lines and Alaska Air Group on Tuesday due to adverse weather conditions and rising cases of the Omicron virus.
Alaska canceled 170 flights across its network and said there would be more cancellations and delays throughout the week. Delta said it expected to cancel more than 250 of 4,133 scheduled flights on Tuesday.
The number of cancellations and delayed flights within, into, or out of the United States stood at 1,034 as of 14.00 ET (19.00 GMT), marking the fifth day of flight cancellations.
Delta said some planes were being rerouted and substituted.
In preparation for Wednesday and Thursday, Alaska Airlines is proactively reducing Seattle departures by about 20 percent in order to provide time to de-ice aircraft, a necessity during winter weather.
While the disruption continues, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Tuesday that it will not advocate requiring vaccinations for domestic flights, following a suggestion by Dr. Anthony Fauci the day before.
“Right now, what we’re talking about is ways to get people vaccinated. When asked about Fauci’s comment, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said, “We’re not revisiting that at this time.”
Waldensky said the CDC considers all possible policies and strongly advocates vaccination, saying people who haven’t been vaccinated are much more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19.
As a result of staff shortages from COVID-19 infections and bad weather in parts of the country, United Airlines cancelled more than 1,000 flights on Monday after grounding thousands over the Christmas holiday weekend.
More than 110 Seattle-Tacoma Airport flights were cancelled on Monday due to snowy weather in the Pacific Northwest.
Flight cancellations have also increased because of rising infections requiring pilots and cabin crew to quarantine.
According to Reuters, new cases of COVID-19 in the United States increased by 55 percent over the past seven days to over 205,000 per day.
CDC officials said on Monday that asymptomatic Americans who are infected should remain isolated for five days, instead of 10 days previously recommended. Businesses may be able to fill staff vacancies as a result of the decision.