Story at a glance
- Experts anticipate more than 84 million will travel during Christmas.
- This is more than Thanksgiving travel numbers and could potentially be dangerous as hospitalizations and deaths increase, experts say.
More than 84.5 million Americans are planning on traveling during the Christmas season as COVID-19 continues to spread across the country.
CBS reports that the forthcoming holiday season will likely eclipse Thanksgiving travel, during which more than 50 million holiday travelers passed through TSA checkpoints, despite warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
And roughly one month later, those warnings still apply.
“Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting COVID-19," the CDC’s updated statement said on Wednesday. “CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
Over the last seven days, more than 1.5 million new cases have been confirmed.
More than 18.5 million cases have been reported since the onset of the pandemic, a 2 percent increase in the past two weeks.
Deaths and hospitalizations have similarly increased, at 15 and 13 percent, respectively.
Public health officials expect 34.5 million more travelers over the Christmas holiday versus Thanksgiving.
Infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci — who celebrates his 80th birthday today — reiterated the need for all Americans to forgo travel and social gatherings.
"Stay at home as much as you can, keep your interactions to the extent possible to members of the same household," Fauci said to The Washington Post. "This cannot be business as usual this Christmas because we're already in a very difficult situation, and we're going to make it worse, if we don't do something about it."