Millions Of People Are Traveling Ahead Of Thanksgiving Despite COVID-19 Warning, TSA Data Shows

Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

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Thomas Catenacci Energy & Environment Reporter
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More than three million people traveled through U.S. airports over the weekend despite federal guidance that recommended “postponing travel,” Transportation Security Administration data showed.

The Transportation Security Administration data released Monday showed that 3.1 million people were screened on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued guidance Thursday recommending Americans stay home for Thanksgiving and postpone travel.

“Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the CDC guidance said. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” (RELATED: CDC Recommends Skipping Travel And Instead Hosting Thanksgiving Virtually)

The CDC also gave guidelines for those who decided to travel or attend a Thanksgiving gathering. Its recommendations included wearing a mask around people “you don’t live with” and bringing your own food, drinks, plates, cups and utensils to a gathering.

Travelers wait for their luggage at Newark International Airport on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Travelers wait for their luggage at Newark International Airport on Saturday in Newark, New Jersey. (Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Friday marked the second time since March that single-day airport travel surpassed one million while Sunday marked the third time, according to the TSA data. More than 980,000 people were screened by the TSA on Saturday.

While the weekend represented an uptick in travel, less than half as many people traveled compared to the same weekend last year, according to the TSA. More than 7 million people traveled by plane the weekend prior to Thanksgiving in 2019, the TSA data showed.

Coronavirus case spikes have occurred during the pandemic following Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day, according to NBC News. More people travel for Thanksgiving than any other holiday in the U.S.

Average coronavirus cases and deaths per million have been increasing rapidly nationwide for several weeks, according to The COVID Tracking Project. On Sunday, the U.S. reported 889 new coronavirus-related deaths and 150,098 new cases while 83,782 Americans remained hospitalized from the virus.

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