This weekend the world learned that London has "lost control" of a new version of COVID-19 that could spread about 70% faster than the older ones. Several countries in Europe, Asia, and South America moved quickly to ban UK flights. As of Monday, Canada is the first North American country to halt such flights. As for Sea-Tac, a flight from London was cancelled today for unknown reasons (it could be that not enough seats were sold, it could be something else). But the airport still has three flights a week from the current hotspot, which means during the past two weeks, as the new virus strain became public and spread widely in the UK, planes load with London people were landing at Sea-Tac. On Friday, December 18, the UK had a record-breaking 36,000 new virus cases.
Perry Cooper, the Media Relations Manager for the organization that manages Sea-Tac, Port of Seattle, explained to me that even this morning, Monday the 21st, he hadn't heard anything from the state or federal government about restrictions.
We have only had British Airways for London service and that has been 3 times per week. Today’s flight was cancelled inbound due to the latest restrictions. I haven’t heard if they are suspending all flights. I’ll keep an ear out. Our other London bound flights, Virgin Atlantic and Norwegian (Gatwick) were previously suspended.
And what about Governor Jay Inslee? What is he doing about this alarming matter? According to his press office, he is "looking at doing something on this today" and he wants us to "stay tuned" because there are "a lot of moving parts."
UPDATE 2:30 PM: Inslee held a press conference and announced that anyone flying to Seattle from the UK, South Africa, and other nations impacted by the new strain needs to quarantine for 14 days.
And so, here we are now. A new strain is already rapidly spreading around the world. Our airports are still wide open, and even if the US closes its doors to UK flights, the action at this point may pretty much be ineffective. The new strain has most likely entered the US and is already going about its deadly business during the busy holiday season. Domestic flights will not stop popping. Sea-Tac has over 50 flights from Los Angeles alone today, December 21.
And what happened on a December 14, Orlando-to-Los-Angeles flight? A man who had clear symptoms of COVID-19 entered the plane, took a seat, breathed heavily all over the place, and died while the plane was in the air.
"Everything felt so intense and not real," Shay Allen, a passenger on the flight, told NBC Los Angeles. Allen said she saw the man board the plane with his head down and breathing heavily. Less than 20 minutes into the flight, a nurse and an emergency medical technician began performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him, according to Allen. She and other passengers indicated they overheard the man's wife say he had been experiencing Covid-like symptoms.
Americans refuse to take this pandemic seriously. How on earth does a man with Covid-like symptoms enter a whole fucking airport, pass the whole fucking TSA checkpoint, take a seat in a whole fucking plane, and then die while the jet is fucking 30,000 feet in the sky? Wake up America, it's time to get real. The only thing that needs a holiday right now are the pointless joys of capitalist consumption and communion.