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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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The official guidance of the CDC says that "postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."

  • Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly, however, took the opposing position when he was interviewed by "Axios on HBO." "You should fly," he told me, adding that "we need to have as much commerce and business and movement as is safe to do."

What they're saying: "The problem is not being on the airplane," said Kelly — although the science on that is not settled. "The problem is what you do off the airplane, quite frankly."

  • "The challenge is when the families get together, and they're not wearing their mask and they're having dinner and drinks and whatnot. Those are all very high risk."

Between the lines: Kelly conceded that he was in the business of bringing families together to have dinner and drinks. He advocated for "a layered approach" to preventing the spread of COVID-19, but pushed back against restrictions on the layer he's responsible for, which is air travel.

  • "What we want to do is provide the opportunity for people to travel as they choose," he said, "but to make sure that it is as safe as we can possibly make it."

By the numbers: Kelly said that passenger numbers are continuing to increase, despite the current wave of coronavirus cases and deaths.

  • "The demand for travel is stronger in November and December than it has been even over the last couple of months," he said. "But we're still going to be down 60% or 65%. So that's better than being down 70%, but a long way away from success."
  • "Without the holiday demand in November and December," he added, "I'm worried about January."

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Tech: "Fludemic" model accurately maps COVID hotspotsVirtual doctor's visits and digital health tools take off.
  2. Politics: Schumer says Senate will stay through weekend to vote on COVID relief — Republican governor of West Virginia says there's no plan to lift mask mandate.
  3. World: Canada vaccine panel recommends 4 months between doses.
  4. Business: Firms develop new ways to inoculate the public.
  5. Local: Ultra-rich Florida community got vaccinations in January.
Jan 29, 2021 - Health

WHO says most pregnant women can now receive coronavirus vaccine

A doctor administering Moderna's coronavirus vaccine at a university hospital in Essen, Germany, on Jan. 18. Photo: Lukas Schulze/Getty Images

The World Health Organization has altered its guidance for pregnant women who wish to receive the coronavirus vaccine, saying now that those at high risk of exposure to the COVID-19 or who have comorbidities that increase their risk of severe disease, may be vaccinated.

Why it matters: The WHO drew backlash for its previous guidance that did not recommend pregnant women be inoculated with vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna, even though data indicated that pregnancy increased the risk of developing severe illness from the virus.

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.