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**FILE** Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

The travel headaches of Christmas weekend carried into Sunday with hundreds more flight cancellations as the omicron variant of the coronavirus decimated the ranks of airline employees.

More than 1,200 U.S. flights were canceled Sunday and more than 5,000 were delayed, CNN reported, citing FlightAware, a company that analyzes flight tracking data.

On Christmas Eve, more than 6,000 flights were canceled globally, with 1,700 within, to or from the U.S., CNN reported, citing FlightAware data.

COVID-19 cases have surged worldwide as the fast-moving omicron variant gains a foothold in a number of countries. The newest variant, first documented late last month in South Africa, is thought by health officials to be far more contagious than previously detected strains, including delta, though it hasn’t been determined whether it’s any more virulent than the others.

The U.S., which leads the world in both confirmed cases and related deaths, has averaged roughly 144,000 new cases daily over the past 28 days, according to Johns Hopkins University data. That number is comparable to those from the same time last year, despite now having vaccines that weren’t widely available at 2020’s end.

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