Take 2: Astroworld, international travel

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nations relevant news for the community.

Hannah Gonzalez

The Take 2 series features brief weekly updates on the state or nation’s relevant news for the community.

Deadly surge at Astroworld Festival: Eight people died on Nov. 5 at the opening night of Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival after the crowd of roughly 50,000 surged the stage. At least 25 people have been hospitalized in critical condition and over 300 people were treated at a field hospital in the park. Concert goers went into cardiac arrest from being squeezed in the crowd causing their oxygen levels to drop. “There were dead bodies, and people just kept going,” said Alana Stevenson, an attendee of the festival. Authorities are still investigating what caused the crowd to surge forward, but Houston Police officer Troy Finner said the police are looking into “rumours of people injecting some people” with drugs. 

Significance: As of Nov. 8, 17 lawsuits have been filed alleging that Scott and other performers at the festival, including Drake, were responsible for the deadly crowd surge. Scott has made the decision to refund the tickets to all who attended the Astroworld Festival. He also will not be headlining the upcoming Day N Vegas Festival which was scheduled for Nov. 13. In a statement on Twitter, Scott said that “our hearts are with the Astroworld festival family tonight – especially those we lost and their loved ones.” Scott has vowed to assist all affected by the tragedy and has already helped to cover funeral costs and has partnered with BetterHelp, a free one-on-one online therapy.

U.S. reopens borders to 33 countries: After 20 months of pandemic-related travel bans, the United States reopened its borders to vaccinated international travelers on Nov. 8. “Today marks a monumental and long-awaited day for travelers, long-separated friends and family who can now safely reunite with loved ones,” the U.S. Travel Association said in a tweet. The travel restrictions had barred non-U.S. citizens traveling from 33 countries, including China, India and much of Europe, as well as an overland entry from Mexico and Canada. To enter the U.S., foreign nationals must be fully vaccinated against Covid, though exceptions will be made for children under 18 and people who are medically unstable to be vaccinated. However, Europe is fighting a fresh wave of coronavirus cases, with the World Health Organization (WHO) warning the region is once again “at the epicenter” of the pandemic. In Europe, there were 1.8 million new cases and about 24,000 deaths in the past week

Significance: Families and friends reunited across U.S. airports after 20 months of separation. Airlines and hotels will gain more business as travel becomes normal again. Though the reopening brings relief, it also brings reluctance. Days before the U.S. borders reopened, authorities from the U.S. State Department upped the travel warning and advised against travel to 14 European countries because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. To finally put an end to the pandemic, officials from WHO say countries “must change their tactics, from reacting from surges of COVID-19, to preventing them from happening in the first place.” The two main reasons for Europe’s case numbers are insufficient vaccination coverage and the relaxation of public health and social measures. Officials fear that if counter measures aren’t taken, then a fourth wave could be expected in Europe.