Well this pandemic is certainly far from over. Despite pleas from public health officials and frontline healthcare workers, millions of Americans are traveling for the holidays.
Data from the Transportation Security Administration shows that more than three million people were screened at airports across the country the weekend before Christmas. Broken down, TSA screened 1,066,747 people on Friday, 1,073,563 on Saturday, 1,064,619 people on Sunday.
This is the first time since March, when COVID-19 restrictions first went into effect, that more than one million people flew on consecutive days. Two days before Christmas the numbers also crept back up to 1,191,123 travelers.
Of course these numbers are low compared to prior years, marking a 60 percent decrease in passengers compared to 2019. However, the CDC has issued guidelines asking folks to keep the holidays low-key this year, avoid traveling, and "celebrate at home with the people who live with you."
"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year," the CDC advised.
This spike in travelers follows the Thanksgiving holiday, when TSA last reached over a million passengers in a day. We saw a record number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the weeks following, but that clearly didn’t deter people from doing the exact same thing a month later.
Dr. Anthony Fauci also urged citizens to stay home, telling The Washington Post that he wouldn’t be seeing his children on Christmas for the first time this year.
“I'm going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci said. “The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday. And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home...That's painful. We don't like that. But that's just one of the things you're going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented challenging time."