Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Americans increasingly seem to be tuning out warnings against travel during what is traditionally one of the busiest periods of the year.
On Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration said it screened close to 1.3 million air travelers at U.S. airports Sunday. It was the highest number in more than nine months. The TSA also reported that more than 10 million people have flown since December 18.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans against travel during the holiday season, fearing that to do so would help spread the coronavirus.
“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said in a news briefing in early December. “Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase.”
According to National Public Radio, it was unclear if a travel surge over Thanksgiving caused a spike in cases. It reported that in some areas, there appeared to be a surge, while in others, there wasn’t.
The American Automobile Association, known as AAA, predicted that an estimated 85 million Americans would travel over the Christmas season, most of them by car, but according to the Associated Press, actual numbers were not yet available.
As of Monday, the United States had more than 19 million coronavirus cases and 333,326 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.