US airport travelers numbers soar at holiday

Peter Sblendorio
New York Daily News/TNS

The number of air travelers in the United States soared to a pandemic high on Sunday despite the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases.

A whopping 1,284,599 travelers were recorded at checkpoints by the Travel Security Administration on Sunday, marking the largest single-day total since mid-March, when the number of fliers greatly declined due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Sunday’s large number of airport visitors came two days after Christmas. Ahead of the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that traveling “can increase the chance of getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19.”

“Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others,” the CDC advised on a holiday guidelines page on its website.

The number of people recorded at T.S.A. checkpoints plummeted toward the beginning of the pandemic, with the total frequently dipping below 100,000 air travelers during April, according to data released by the administration.

Those numbers have increased in the months since, however. Multiple days around Thanksgiving saw more than 1 million people at airport checkpoints in the U.S.

Every day between Dec. 18 and Dec. 23, meanwhile, saw more than 950,000 air travelers at U.S. checkpoints, while 1,128,773 people were recorded on Dec. 26.

The U.S. has recorded more deaths from COVID-19 in December than in any month, with more than 63,000, according to CNN.

Overall, there have been more than 19 million confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 333,000 deaths, in the U.S. since the beginning of the pandemic, according to data tracked by John Hopkins University. Both totals are the most of any country.

Travelers wear facemasks at Miami International Airport on December 24, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic.