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CNN10 2021-11-03

CNN 10

Disruptions In U.S. Airline Travel; China's Tight COVID Restrictions; A Robot Cook; Show Of The Northern Lights. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired November 03, 2021 - 04:00:00 ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: This is your captain Carl Azuz, ready to pilot you through a new edition of CNN 10. Welcome to the show. News from the flight deck, there could be turbulence ahead for airline travel in the United States. It's not yet back to the levels of passengers and flights it saw in 2019, before the COVID pandemic happened, but because airlines have been reducing the number of flights they offer, planes are still packed.

Demand is high for available seats and ticket prices are higher too. A major reason why there are fewer flights is because airlines have staffing problems. Southwest Airlines and American Airlines, for example, say they've cancelled thousands of flights recently because they didn't have enough pilots and flight attendants.

So when there are issues with the weather, it's harder for these companies to move planes around and get crews on them when schedules change. This isn't just hitting passengers who get stranded at airports when their flights are cancelled. Airline unions say the flight crews that are working are stressed to a breaking point.

Some have been holding demonstrations in recent days to draw attention to difficult work conditions, and a rise in unruly passengers is part of that.

There've been thousands of reports this year. The U.S. government has investigated 950 of them so far. In 2019, it investigated 146. The Federal Aviation Administration says most of the problems are disputes over wearing masks. The U.S. government requires airline passengers to do that. Some of them don't want to.

The government is also requiring millions of American workers to get a COVID vaccine. Some airline industry analysts say that could make staffing shortages worse if unvaccinated crew members are unable to fly, or if they quit their jobs to avoid getting a vaccine.

The CEO of Southwest Airlines says, his company may provide exemptions for medical or religious reasons to keep crews in the air. All of this is going on as the holidays approach and airline travel is expected to increase in America. So more cancelled flights may be on the horizon.


PAUL MUNTEEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The truth is that no airline is immune to these cascading kind of problems. First it was Southwest Airlines three weeks ago, now it is American Airlines. The airline cancelled more than 800 flights on Sunday, more than 500 on Saturday, more than 300 on Friday.

That means about one in every 10 American Airlines flights were cancelled over that three-day period, but American says the problems all really began on Thursday when bad weather and high winds hit its biggest hub at Dallas/Fort Worth, that led to a chain reaction of cancellations leaving planes and crews out of position.

American COO David Seymour sent a letter to the entire airline saying that they wanted to build certainty into the operation. So it started proactively cancelling flights but that left thousands of people stranded in long lines in airports across the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sure it's terrible for a lot of people. Place to be and families to be with and (inaudible) work tomorrow so --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's annoying because it wasn't just American. It was Southwest a couple weeks ago. So (inaudible) stranded for awhile because they just keep cancelling and cancelling.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't understand why it's cancelled. I've -- I've heard that they don't have enough staff. Well, you sold me a product. I paid for it. Now it's your job to get me there.

MUNTEEN: Remember this not just about staffing. That is only part of the issue here, but the good news is American says 1,800 flight attendants who were on pandemic leaves of absence returned to the job on Monday. American says things should start to return to normal soon.


AZUZ: An Oxford University professor of epidemiology, the study of diseases, says it's almost impossible to completely get rid of COVID.

Specifically with the Delta variant of the disease which spreads easily and quickly. He says you reach a point where you can't keep a community in lockdown, because COVID will come up again and again.

So almost all countries are finding ways to live with the virus, rather than trying to completely eliminate it. China is not one of those countries. This is where COVID-19 was first identified two years ago, and the nation has closed borders, required quarantines and instituted city wide lockdowns when people do test positive. The nation's prevention measures can turn on a dime.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Crowds dancing at Disneyland on Sunday evening to celebrate Halloween. Shanghai, style. But just a few hours later, a COVID fright forcing the resort into temporary lockdown. The theme is a bit scary you can hear one man narrating on social media.

A large team of medical workers in hazmat suits, not costumes, descending on the theme park, tasked with testing each and every guest and employee.

Nearly 34,000 people by mid-Monday. The radio announcement asked all the people to stop one woman said.

This man unsure how long they would be trapped in the park. Once tested visitors and workers were shuttled back to their homes and hotels using more than 200 buses. They're now required to self-isolate and undergo multiple COVID-19 tests in the next two weeks. All of this because of one confirmed COVID-19 case from a nearby province.

Officials say she visited the park Saturday. This is Shanghai Disneyland's first COVID related closure since May 2020, when it became the first major theme park to reopen amidst the pandemic. We visited the park as it started implementing what were then new and seemingly strict procedures.

Everything from social distancing to sanitation stations to digital contact tracing of guests. Changes the rest of the world quickly adopted, but other countries are reopening borders and relaxing COVID restrictions. Places like Australia and Thailand, learning to live with COVID, but not China.

Officials here in Shanghai and across this country are determined to stick to their zero tolerance approach. One case is one too many.

And if you think Shanghai Disney's shutdown sounds extreme? It's nothing compared to what's happening in other parts of China. An entire city, southeastern China's Jiang Shi province coming to a stop. Officials temporarily turning all the traffic lights to red because of just one confirmed case.

Mass testing, lockdowns in other parts of the country and last week two Beijing bound high speed trains halted mid-journey. Hundreds tested and isolated after officials found close contacts of one confirmed case onboard. As China prepares to host the Winter Olympic games in three months, extreme containment measures are not likely to ease.

But if there's one magical place to spend a few hours locked down, Shanghai Disneyland might just be it. The resort going ahead with their planned fireworks and light show as thousands were being tested, adding a spectacular backdrop to the government's narrative of its winning COVID strategy. David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.




AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. Who gave the aurora borealis its name? Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Cassini. It was the astronomer Galileo who came up with the name in the early 1600s'.

Wrapping up our show on a light note, a Northern Light note. This is what can happen when a solar flare erupts and causes a geomagnetic storm of electrons that are energized through their acceleration, following Earth's magnetic field until they collide with atoms and molecules that release their energy in the form of light when they relax from an excited state.

See? Because of a solar flare, the Northern Lights were visible in more places than usual over the weekend. They might have even been seen as far south as Portland, Oregon or Philadelphia, Pennsylvania if the weather hadn't been rainy.

It's too bad. Light show are "aurorable". Even if you find them a bit of a "borealis", it's rare for them to be visible "illumination" wide and in the night sky they make a "hue" difference. So you can see how across the spectrum, the be like, "empicastle".

I'm Carl Azuz. Today's shout out goes out to Denair High School in Denair, California. Thank you for your comment and your request on our You Tube channel. We hope you and everyone watching worldwide has a wonderful Wednesday.