More Than 1 Million Thanksgiving Travelers Hit Airports Friday Despite Pandemic

More than 1 million travelers went through security checkpoints at airports nationwide on Friday despite warnings from the CDC not to travel due to the pandemic, according to USA Today. Friday combined with travel on Saturday and Sunday brought the three-day total to more than 3 million travelers. Those three days added up to some of the busiest days for air travel since the beginning of the pandemic in March, according to CNN.

“The tragedy that could happen is that one of your family members is coming to this family gathering and they could end up severely ill, hospitalized or dying. And we don’t want that to happen,”  Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s Covid-19 incident manager, warned before the weekend. “These times are tough.”

Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new Covid-19 cases nationwide on Friday. Despite this, American Airlines is one carrier that plans to increase its schedule by around 15 percent this week compared to the rest of the month. In addition, AAA is forecasting 50 million people will travel nationwide for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Airline officials say they are conducting adequate sanitizing of airplanes between flights and that planes have hospital-quality air filters that will ensure passengers will be safe while on board. Travelers must also wear face masks.

However, CDC officials say they are primarily concerned about what happens when passengers step off the planes and opt to spend time at large holiday gatherings where it may be easy to spread Covid-19 to others.