AIRPORTS on the day before Christmas Eve were the busiest they have been since the coronavirus pandemic started, with nearly 1.2million people flying despite warnings against holiday travel.
US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents screened 1,191,123 people at US airports on Wednesday, agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said, according to the New York Post.
Travelers passed through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Dec. 23, the day with the most airport traffic since mid-MarchCredit: Getty Images – Getty
US coronavirus deaths have surpassed 326,000
That marked the highest number of travelers passing through TSA checkpoints since March 16 when 1,257,823 people were screened.
Many Americans traveled despite health officials urging people to stay home during the holidays as the country breaks records on Covid-19 cases and deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advised Americans against having inter-household holiday gatherings.
“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the CDC stated in its guidance.
Travelers passed through Los Angeles International Airport on Dec. 22, the day before TSA screenings hit a record during the pandemicCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Dr Anthony Fauci said up to 90 percent of Americans would have to take the Covid-19 vaccine for the country to reach heard immunity Credit: Alamy Live News
Last weekend was the first time since March when Friday, Saturday and Sunday tallied more than one million people going through airports, according to the TSA.
Airport traffic dipped after the pandemic shutdowns and TSA agents screened as little as 90,000 people several days in April.
While Wednesday’s count was the highest since before the pandemic, it was only 61 percent of the number of people who traveled on the same day last year.
The previous high in airport traffic during the pandemic was on Nov. 29, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when 1,176,091 passed TSA checkpoints.
Travelers went through TSA screenings at Denver International Airport on Dec. 22, the day before US airport traffic hit a record during the pandemicCredit: AP:Associated Press
Dr Anthony Fauci took the Covid-19 vaccine on Dec. 22Credit: Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Wednesday’s record came on the same day that the US reported more than 3,000 deaths for the second straight day.
By midnight on Wednesday, the country’s coronavirus death toll reached 326,333.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, and other health officials say social distancing will be needed into 2021 as Covid-19 vaccines slowly get distributed, first to health care workers and to the most vulnerable.
Up to 90 percent of the population may have to take the Covid-19 vaccine in order for the country to reach herd immunity, Fauci told The New York Times on Thursday.
That percentage is a notable increase from Fauci’s estimates earlier this year, which were that only 60 to 70 percent of the population would need to take the shot for herd immunity.
“We need to have some humility here. We really don’t know what the real number is,” Fauci said.
“I think the real range is somewhere between 70 to 90 percent. But, I’m not going to say 90 percent.”