More than a Million Americans Disregarded Public Health Travel Warnings on Sunday

People walk through New York’s LaGuardia Airport on November 24, 2020 in New York City. Despite warnings from the government and politicians not to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday due to the Covid-19 pandemic, millions of Americans have been flying and driving to meet friends and family for the holiday. …
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

U.S. airports screened well over one million people on Sunday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Two days following Christmas, TSA screened roughly 1.28 million passengers. While that number is still significantly lower than last year’s, it marks the biggest day of travel since officials across the nation began to take serious action against the Chinese coronavirus in March.

According to Reuters, Sunday “was the sixth day in the last 10 that volume surpassed 1 million” despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cautioning Americans to avoid nonessential domestic travel as cases of the virus spike across the country.

“Travel can increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19,” the CDC said.

The CDC has also urged testing before and after travel, contending that it could reduce the risk of spreading the Wuhan virus. The agency suggests getting tested 1-3 days prior to a flight, as well as 3-5 days after travel. It also urges individuals to “stay home for 7 days after travel,” even if he or she tests negative.

“If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 10 days after travel,” the CDC states.

Similarly, over one million people passed through security checkpoints the weekend prior to Christmas, indicating that Americans planned to proceed with their holiday plans despite warnings from officials across the nation.

Overall, however, the volume of people traveling this year is down significantly, with U.S. airports screening just over 10 million people in the last 10 days compared to roughly 25 million in the same time period in 2019, per Reuters.

The 7-day moving average positivity rate currently stands at 10.3 percent, down nearly a full percentage point from the 11.2 percent reported last week, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID Tracking Project.

White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx is among officials who have not heeded to CDC warnings to limit nonessential travel, traveling to a vacation property in Delaware after Thanksgiving with her family last month. Several Democrat politicians — including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker —  have also come under fire for violating their own purported beliefs.

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