Royal Oak Tribune

‘Mom’s worth it’: U.S. holiday travel surges despite outbreak

- By Tamara Lush

TAMPA, FLA. » Some are elderly and figure they don’t have many Christmase­s left. Others are trying to keep long-distance romance alive. Some just yearn for the human connection that’s been absent for the past nine months.

Millions of Americans are traveling ahead of Christmas and New Year’s, despite pleas from public health experts that they stay home to avoid fueling the raging coronaviru­s pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 nationwide.

Many people at airports this week thought long and hard about whether to go somewhere and found a way to rationaliz­e it.

“My mom’s worth it. She needs my help,” said 34-year-old Jennifer Brownlee, a fisherman from Bayou La Batre, Alabama, who was waiting at the Tampa airport to fly to Oregon to see her mother, who just lost a leg. “I know that God’s got me. He’s not going to let me get sick.”

Brownlee said that she would wear a mask on the plane “out of respect” for other passengers but that her immune system and Jesus Christ would protect her .

More than 5 million people passed through the nation’s airport security checkpoint­s between Friday and Tuesday, according to the Transporta­tion Security Administra­tion.

That is down around 60% from the same time last year. But it amounts to around a million passengers per day, or about what the U. S. saw in the days leading up to Thanksgivi­ng, when some Americans likewise disregarde­d warnings and ended up contributi­ng to the nationwide surge.

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