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Customers shop at Macys on Nov. 27 in New York City. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

Many Americans braved shopping malls and department stores to shop in-person on Black Friday.

Why it matters: Coronavirus infections are still on the rise across much of the U.S. during a season of travel and holiday gatherings. Hospitals across the country, especially in rural areas, are still overwhelmed.

Between the lines: Although some states have reintroduced COVID mitigation efforts in the face of rising cases — like mask mandates and lower occupancy levels in businesses — retail workers told the Los Angeles Times before Black Friday they were still worried for their safety.

Yes, but: Stores in Houston, Portland and eastern Kentucky reportedly saw light crowds on Black Friday, as more people took advantage of online deals. Thanksgiving Day online sales, meanwhile, reportedly hit a record $5.1 billion this year.

In photos
Shoppers walk through Macys in New York City on Nov. 27. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images
Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio on Nov. 27. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images
A line outside of a Foot Locker store on Nov. 27 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
An early morning line outside of a New Jersey Walmart on Nov. 27. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Shoppers in a New Jersey Walmart on Nov. 27. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Shoppers enter a Foot Locker on Nov. 27 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon/Getty Images
Shoppers wait outside a Target for a 7 a.m. opening in Manalapan, New Jersey on Nov. 27. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Black Friday shoppers at Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio on Nov. 27. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images
Black Friday shoppers at Franklin Park Mall in Toledo, Ohio on Nov. 27. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/Getty Images
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper ... Podcast: Walmart U.S. CEO talks Black Friday

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2021 - World

EU grants conditional approval of AstraZeneca vaccine

Photo: Sunil Ghosh/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The European Commission on Friday granted conditional approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for people 18 years and older.

Why it matters: This is the third vaccine to receive approval from the commission, coming hours after the Emergency Medicines Agency recommended its authorization.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Germany to impose travel restrictions to curb spread of coronavirus variants

Border police officers check passports and COVID-19 tests at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Thomas Lohnes via Getty Images

Germany announced Friday that it was imposing new travel restrictions in an effort to curb the spread of more contagious coronavirus variants.

Details: All non-German residents traveling from countries deemed "areas of variant concern," including the United Kingdom, South Africa, Portugal, Ireland, Brazil, Lesotho and Eswatini, will be banned from entering the country, even if they test negative for the coronavirus.

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