Over a half-million people were screened through the nation’s airport security checkpoints Christmas Day, just 23% of the number of travelers who flew on the same day a year ago, according to the Transportation Security Agency.
On Friday, 616,469 people were screened, following on Christmas Eve, when 846,520 went through the TSA’s checkpoints, reports CNN.
Wednesday, though, the airlines set a pandemic air travel record, with 1.2 million passengers flying.
But come Sunday, travel experts say millions will be flying because last week, almost 7 million people were screened at airport security checkpoints and many will be heading home.
The travel crowds come even after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on Americans to remain home amid the surge in coronavirus infections, and the increase is causing health experts to fear yet another jump in COVID-19 cases, like the spike after the Thanksgiving holiday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CBS News earlier this month, this year would be the first time in more than 30 years he would not be spending the holiday with his daughters.
Meanwhile, airline executives are looking to bring thousands of workers furloughed in the fall back to work, pending Congress’s latest COVID-19 relief bill. It includes an extension of the industry’s Payroll Support Program and which sets aside $15 billion in assistance to rehire more than 32,000 United Airlines and American Airlines employees who were furloughed in September. The additional funds would be enough to pay the workers through March 31, the companies are saying.
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