Story at a glance

  • On Sunday, the TSA counted 1.28 million travelers.
  • Public health experts worry about more cases.

In a similar pattern witnessed over Thanksgiving, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported screening about 1.28 million passengers on Sunday across U.S. airports, the highest number recorded since mid-March when the COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a halt.

Reuters reports that this figure was still roughly 50 percent lower than last year’s numbers, but also noted that Sunday was the sixth day over the past 10 days where airport passenger volume surpassed 1 million nationwide — centered around Christmas 2020.

Public health officials in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention repeatedly issued public messaging warnings against traveling for the holidays and impressed staying home as the safest option while the virus continues to spread. 

National data suggests that the two-week average of new COVID-19 infections have decreased by 12 percent. Despite this downturn, health care workers and experts are anticipating a similar surge seen post-holiday.

"We've just seen these amplification events, and that's what's happened at the end of this year in the US," Erin Bromage, an associate professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, told CNN.

"We had Thanksgiving, we had Labor Day, we had Halloween, and each one of these events brought lots of people together and just gave the virus more fuel to move through the population," she added. "Christmas is going to do a similar thing.”

Recently approved COVID-19 vaccines are currently making rounds in the U.S., with nearly 2 million people having been vaccinated. 


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Published on Dec 28, 2020