Airlines in the United States have canceled more than 1,700 domestic and international flights since Friday due to the recent spike of Omicron variant infections, data from the FlightAware, a flight-tracking website.
The variant of has dominated the COVID-19 infections in the U.S and has spread to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., three weeks after the first Omicron case was reported in the country.
United Airlines, a major airliner in the country, said in a statement that the Omicron variant was causing staffing problems, thus leading to the decision to cancel some flights.
A report from the Cable New Network (CNN) said that the Omicron strain has made the COVID-19 infection rate in the U.S. exceed the last infection peak caused by the Delta variant this summer.
In the past week, 12 states saw the number of people hospitalized due to COVID-19 grow by at least 10 percent, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Some health experts have warned that Omicron may overwhelm the U.S. medical system.
The cumulative total of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States exceeded 51.96 million on Friday, with the death toll surpassing 816,000, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.