TSA screened more than 2M passengers over the weekend, despite CDC guidance to stay home

on Dec21
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Well, somebody’s not listening.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened over 2 million passengers at airports across the U.S. on Saturday and Sunday, a consecutive record high for the first time since March. The news comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to urge Americans to stay home in the fight against COVID-19, though it would seem that people are apparently still heading out for the holidays.

According to the latest checkpoint travel numbers, the TSA screened 1,066,747 travelers on Friday, 1,073,563 travelers on Saturday and 1,064,619 on Sunday. Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted that the Friday and Saturday figures marked the “first time since pandemic” that over a million people were screened on two consecutive days. The federal agency’s historical data shows that a similar number of people hadn’t passed through checkpoints since the weekend of March 13 – the day the coronavirus outbreak was declared a national emergency.

​​​​​Travelers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

​​​​​Travelers walk through Salt Lake City International Airport in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The numbers mark the first time U.S. airports have screened more than 1 million passengers since Nov. 25, or the day before Thanksgiving (1,070,967) and the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend (1,176,091).

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The Associated Press reports that the seven-day rolling average of newly reported infections in the U.S. has risen from about 176,000 a day, as of just before Thanksgiving, to over 215,000 a day. Though it’s too early to determine how much of the spike is due to travel and gatherings over Turkey Day, experts believe they are a factor.

Travelers arriving at Midway Airport in Chicago are reminded of the city's COVID-19 travel orders in this Nov. 24 photo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Travelers arriving at Midway Airport in Chicago are reminded of the city’s COVID-19 travel orders in this Nov. 24 photo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

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Meanwhile, the CDC continues asking Americans to stay put.

“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 national health institute said in a recent advisory on domestic travel.

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However, if the travel trend continues, public health officials fear this movement will spawn more superspreader events as people unknowingly transmit the virus to loved ones during indoor holiday gatherings. Officials note the upcoming holiday stretch from Christmas to New Year’s Day is a longer period than the Thanksgiving break.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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