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The Eiffel Tower in Paris. Photos: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images; Stephane Cardinale-Corbis via Getty Images

The U.S. travel and tourism sector is set for a drop of 6 million international visitors because of the novel coronavirus, costing $19 billion in spending this year, per a report by Tourism Economics. "The present declines appear likely to be worse than what the US experienced in 2003 [after the SARS outbreak]," the report states.

The big picture: The global outlook is just as bleak. The report was released on March 11, two days after Italy announced a nationwide lockdown after a surge in cases. Since then, several countries have followed suit, European travelers face U.S. travel restrictions and the CDC has recommended gatherings of 50 or more people be postponed or canceled for eight weeks. The outbreak's impact is evident at many top travel destinations, where once-bustling hubs have been transformed into virtual ghost towns.

New York City's Times Square. Photos: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; George Rose/Getty Images
A view of San Giorgio Maggiore from Piazza San Marco in Venice. Photos: Giacomo Cosua/NurPhoto via Getty Images; Ricardo Ribas/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
The Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in Saudi Arabia's holy city of Mecca. Photos: Bandar Aldandani/AFP via Getty Images; Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images
Tiananmen Gate in Beijing. Photos: Steven Saphore/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images; Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images
The London Eye in London, England. Photos: Carl Court/Getty Images; Rick Findler/PA Images via Getty Images
Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California, which closed this week. Photos: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images; Jeff Gritchen/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

Mitt Romney calls Ray Dalio's China investments a "sad moral lapse"

Sen. Mitt Romney walks to a Senate Republican caucus meeting at the Capitol on Oct. 7. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Thursday criticized billionaire Ray Dalio's investments in China, writing in a tweet that "his feigned ignorance of China's horrific abuses and rationalization of complicit investments there is a sad moral lapse."

Driving the news: Romney's comments come after Dalio's firm, Bridgewater Associates, the largest hedge fund in the world, raised $1.3 billion in November for a new private fund in China, Bloomberg reports.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: First known U.S. case of Omicron variant identified in California — America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron — CDC prepares tougher testing rules for international travelers.
  2. Politics: Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come — Meta removes accounts linked to COVID disinformation effort by China.
  3. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  4. World: Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people — Omicron variant detected in more countriesWHO advises people 60 or older to postpone travel due to Omicron
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.