People traveling through U.S. airport checkpoints hit a 10-week low this week while cases of COVID-19 surge across parts of the country.
The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) screened just over 1.6 million travelers on Tuesday, the lowest checkpoint volume since June 8, when the agency screened more than 1.5 million passengers.
JUST IN: @TSA screened 1,607,238 individuals at airport security checkpoints yesterday, Tuesday, August 17. It was the lowest checkpoint volume since June 8, when 1,560,561 people came through security checkpoints. It’s still important to #MaskUp when traveling.— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) August 18, 2021
On Wednesday, the agency screened nearly 1.7 million passengers, which was slightly higher than the previous Wednesday.
JUST IN: @TSA screened 1,678,231 people at airport checkpoints nationwide yesterday, Wednesday, August 18. It was the lowest checkpoint volume for a Wednesday since August 9, when 1,669,537 individuals were screened.— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) August 19, 2021
Air travel had been bouncing back and more Americans were flying due to the country reopening and more people being vaccinated. But states like Texas and Mississippi have recently seen massive spikes in cases.
The Biden administration this week extended the federal mask mandate for all transportation networks, including on airplanes and in airports, through Jan. 18. The mandate was set to expire on Sept. 13 after it was extended in April from its initial expiration date of May 11.
The new threat of the delta variant of the coronavirus led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last month to update federal guidance, recommending that vaccinated and unvaccinated people wear masks indoors in certain areas where there is a substantial rise in COVID-19 infections.