• On Good Things Utah this morning – Let’s talk about holiday travel – Will this summer’s travel chaos continue? Here’s what we can expect in the coming months. Two and a half years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re still feeling its effects on the travel industry in big ways. This summer has been one of the most frustrating periods, as travelers have had to navigate canceled flights, lost luggage, escalating prices and a general sense of chaos. But will this trend persist into the holiday season? “While I still think 2022 holiday season travel numbers will lag behind 2019, they will be well above 2021 and 2020 totals,” Phil Dengler, co-founder of The Vacationer, told HuffPost. “The majority of COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, which really puts the virus out of a lot of people’s minds when they consider traveling. On most days, TSA checkpoint numbers are only slightly behind the equivalent day from 2019.” There was massive demand for travel this summer, and experts expect it to continue into the holiday season ― or, at least, to be greater than in 2021. “The past two holiday seasons were surprisingly robust for being solidly in pandemic times, but one problem that prohibited even more families from traveling was there was still no vaccine for 5 and under,” said travel host Samantha Brown. “We now have that vaccine, so families with younger children will feel it’s safer to fly.”
  • Plus, spooky season is about to bring spooky prices, too. According to the latest data from the market research company Statista, pumpkins might cost a lot more in the NYC area due to inflation, Patch reports. This year, a pumpkin could cost New Yorkers $5 on average if prices keep hiking following the yearly national trends. Last year, Halloween’s favorite vegetables sold for an average of $4.83 each, while they cost $4.18 in 2020 and $4.04 in 2019. That would be almost a $1 raise in three years. Those who are looking to find a big pumpkin to carve might have to shell out much more than $5. The Department of Agriculture estimates that the average price per pound is $1.38, which means that a 14-pound pumpkin would cost buyers $20. Pumpkin prices tend to fluctuate as Halloween gets closer, and the final average price this year remains to be seen. But just like most other things this year, expect some potentially scary numbers at the cash register.
  • And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention quietly announced on Oct. 5 that it will no longer provide public information on daily COVID-19 cases and deaths across the U.S. Instead, the CDC plans to release weekly data reports beginning on Oct. 20, which marks a big change from the information the agency has shared during the majority of the pandemic. The CDC’s data has been viewed as a dramatic undercount for months due to just how many people are testing for COVID-19 at home and not reporting their results to local health authorities (who then notify the CDC), John Sellick, an infectious disease expert and epidemiological researcher at the University at Buffalo/SUNY, tells Yahoo Life. So, that’s led people to try to find indicators of the next COVID-19 wave in other areas — like Yankee Candle reviews. Yes, people are actually looking at reviews for the popular candle company to try to predict if there will be a rise in COVID-19 cases. The connection is fairly simple: When there’s a rise in reviews from people who say that their candles have no smell, there will also be a rise in COVID-19 cases. The theory, as it stands, is that these people are actually infected with COVID-19 and don’t realize it.
  • Hope you join us as we dive into these Hot Topics and so much more this morning on a Monday edition of GTU