TSA screens over 1.5 million passengers heading into holiday weekend

TSA screens over 1.5 million passengers heading into holiday weekend
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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Saturday that it has screened more than 1.5 million people ahead of Easter weekend.

TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said on Twitter that the agency screened 1.58 million people at airports across the country on Friday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic more than a year ago.

The TSA is preparing for travel to increase over the summer, although a spokesperson told The Hill it is hard to estimate due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus.

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The spokesperson said the agency is hiring 6,000 more employees to prepare for an increase in travel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week that fully vaccinated individuals are at low risk when they travel, though it advised that nonessential travel still be avoided.

Leaders have urged people to continue to take precautions to avoid spreading the virus. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, told people in her country to have a “quiet Easter” in order to curb the spread of the disease.

Despite air travel still being discouraged, the number of screenings at U.S. airports has gone up in the past month.

“Four of the last ten days we’ve seen 1.5 million or more passengers and 27 out of the last 30 had 1 million,” the TSA spokesperson told The Hill. “We are definitely seeing the numbers trend upward.”

The CDC has recorded more than 100 million people in the U.S. receiving at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. The agency has said vaccinated individuals can travel domestically without having to get tested.

Updated: 12:42 p.m.