USA TODAY US Edition

More are flying, de­spite agency’s plea not to travel

- Bryan Alexan­der Con­tribut­ing: Sara M Mo­niuszko, Dawn Gil­bert­son, Ju­lia Thompson, USA TO­DAY; The As­so­ci­ated Press Travel · Infectious Diseases · Thanksgiving Day · Health Conditions · Celebrations · Lake Tahoe · U.S. Centers for Disease Control · United States of America · Tucson · Arizona · Seattle · San Francisco · North Dakota · Detroit · Costa Rica · Wisconsin · Detroit Lions · Holman, Missouri · Lake · Transportation Security Administration · Tucson

“I see it as my civic duty not to spread this virus fur­ther.” Josh Hol­man Whose fam­ily scrapped plans to fly to Lake Ta­hoe for Thanks­giv­ing

Amer­i­cans flocked to air­ports be­fore the Thanks­giv­ing hol­i­day, even as the COVID-19 pan­demic rages and af­ter the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion pleaded with them not to travel.

More than 1 mil­lion air trav­el­ers passed through se­cu­rity check­points at U.S. air­ports Fri­day and Sun­day for only the sec­ond and third time since the pan­demic began, ac­cord­ing to the Trans­porta­tion Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Sun­day was the sin­gle-busiest day at air­port check­points since March. Saturday, the travel num­bers neared a mil­lion, bring­ing the three-day to­tal to more than 3 mil­lion pas­sen­gers.

And the crowds are likely to grow. Next Sun­day is likely to be the busiest day of the hol­i­day pe­riod.

The flock of trav­el­ers came a day af­ter the CDC is­sued its warn­ing against hol­i­day travel. Dur­ing a news brief­ing Thurs­day, Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 in­ci­dent man­ager, said the agency rec­om­mended “against travel dur­ing the Thanks­giv­ing pe­riod.”

“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,” he said as the num­ber of na­tional COVID-19 cases ticks up. “Th­ese times are tough.”

Stephen Brown­ing, a re­tired ex­ec­u­tive from Tuc­son, Ari­zona, will fly to Seattle for Thanks­giv­ing with his sis­ter. The cel­e­bra­tion usu­ally has up to 30 peo­ple; this year, only 10 are com­ing, and every­one was asked to get a coro­n­avirus test. He doesn’t plan on re­mov­ing his mask to eat or drink on the flight.

“This is my first flight since De­cem­ber 2019, so yes, I have con­cerns,” he said. “But I think most air­lines are act­ing re­spon­si­bly now and en­forc­ing masks on all flights.”

Some trav­el­ers are re­think­ing trips.

Josh Hol­man and his fam­ily scrapped plans to fly to Lake Ta­hoe and spend Thanks­giv­ing with his brother, who lives in San Fran­cisco, and his par­ents, who live in North Dakota.

“I see it as my civic duty not to spread this virus fur­ther,” said Hol­man, an as­sis­tant county pros­e­cu­tor who lives out­side Detroit.

Ale­jan­dro Zu­niga and his fi­ancee, Me­gan Muhs, who live in Costa Rica, thought briefly about flying to Wis­con­sin for Thanks­giv­ing to see Muhs’ fam­ily but de­cided against it.

“No part of a ma­jor in­ter­na­tional trip seems safe at this point,” Zu­niga said. The pair plan to make video calls to fam­ily and stream the Detroit Lions foot­ball game on Thanks­giv­ing Day.

Roger Dow, pres­i­dent and CEO of the in­dus­try group U.S. Travel As­so­ci­a­tion, said he ex­pects some peo­ple to heed the CDC’s rec­om­men­da­tion but noted that AAA projects that 50 mil­lion Amer­i­cans will travel for Thanks­giv­ing.

 ?? DAVID SAN­TI­AGO/AP ?? More than 3 mil­lion moved through U.S. air­port se­cu­rity over the week­end, and the crowds of pas­sen­gers are ex­pected to grow. Sun­day is likely to be the busiest day of the hol­i­day pe­riod.
DAVID SAN­TI­AGO/AP More than 3 mil­lion moved through U.S. air­port se­cu­rity over the week­end, and the crowds of pas­sen­gers are ex­pected to grow. Sun­day is likely to be the busiest day of the hol­i­day pe­riod.

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