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Travelers not letting Covid cancel holiday plans as case numbers surge

TSA screening 2 million passengers per day
BWI TSA.jpeg
Posted at 8:46 AM, Dec 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-23 06:19:19-05

LINTHICUM, Md. — A rise in Covid cases isn't the only thing increasing this holiday season.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials said its officers screened more than two million people a day at airports nationwide since Friday.

Lines at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport were steady early Tuesday morning.

It doesn't seem like people are letting Covid or the rapidly spreading Omnicron variant ruin or change their holiday plans.

Many Americans are headed home for the holidays. For some, it will be the first time they'll get to see their loved ones since the start of the pandemic.

TSA officials said the number of passengers recently screened at the nation's airports is nearly double what it was a year ago but still falls short of the pre-pandemic 2019 numbers.

These increased numbers come as health officials struggle to control the surge in covid cases and hospitalizations.

Last Friday saw the most airport screenings since the Monday after Thanksgiving but for the fourth day in a row, they screened more than two million people per day.

Travel is up overall this year, whether in the air, on the rails, or on the road.

Between December 23rd and January 2nd, AAA travel experts expect about 110 million people to travel 50 miles or more by plane, train, or by car. It means travel will be up 30 percent from last year when fewer people wanted to travel during the height of the pandemic.

As far as air travel this year, airlines expect to see a 184 percent increase from last holiday season.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports Covid cases are up more than 50 million over the last 30 days, although nearly 80 percent of the population age five and up is vaccinated with at least one shot.

Despite those numbers, Dr. Fauci tells holiday travelers that if they’re vaccinated and boosted they should feel comfortable flying and celebrating with family.

The TSA expects to screen nearly 30 million passengers from now through January 3rd.

TSA officials remind people to arrive early, pack smart, and have a little Christmas spirit by being kind to their TSA officers who might be just as stressed out by the large crowds at the airport as the travelers themselves.