TSA screens 1.1 million travelers on day after Christmas


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The CDC just sliced the recommended quarantine time in half for some cases of exposure to COVID-19.

USA TODAY

More than 1.1 million people traveled through airports around the United States on Saturday, nearing Wednesday’s pandemic travel record – despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to stay at home to quell coronavirus cases. 

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened 1,128,773 people the day after Christmas. That’s roughly half the number of travelers screened on the same day in 2019 and just 62,000 less than the 1,191,123 screened Dec. 23 – the most on any day in the U.S. since the pandemic began

The previous pandemic record was set the Sunday after Thanksgiving, when 1,176,091 travelers were screened. Saturday was the fifth day during the Christmas holiday rush when traveler counts topped 1 million. Many travelers headed out early, with more than 1 million individuals screened on three consecutive days the weekend prior to the holiday (Dec. 18-20).

As of Sunday, the U.S. has more than 19 million cases of COVID-19 and 332,700 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data

CDC to Americans: Avoid travel during winter holiday season, get COVID-19 tests if you do

The CDC previously urged Americans not to travel for the winter holidays, just as it did before Thanksgiving. 

“The best thing for Americans to do in the upcoming holiday season is to stay at home and not travel,” Dr. Henry Walke, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, said in a news briefing in early December. “Cases are rising. Hospitalizations are increasing, Deaths are increasing. We need to try to bend the curve, stop this exponential increase.”

For those who decide to travel, the CDC now recommends  they get tested for COVID-19 one to three days before  their trips as well as three to five days after,  and reduce nonessential activities for seven days after travel, Walke said. Those who do not get tested should reduce nonessential activities for 10 days after travel, the agency said.

Testing does not eliminate travel risk, Walke said, but when combined with reducing nonessential activities and other precautions, it can make “travel safer.” he said. 

Before it stepped up advice on not traveling during the holidays, the CDC had given only general advice on travel during the pandemic: “Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.”

Contributing: Dawn Gilbertson

Travelers continue to ignore CDC advice: TSA screened pandemic record 1.19 million travelers Wednesday

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