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The U.S. just saw a pandemic high for traveling by air

The United States set an air travel record for the pandemic over the New Year’s holiday break.

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A traveler wears a mask while checking in at Concourse D at Miami International Airport, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Miami.

A traveler wears a mask while checking in at Concourse D at Miami International Airport, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Miami.

David Santiago, Miami Herald via Associated Press

The United States set a new pandemic record for air travel during the New Year’s holiday break, prompting worries from officials that COVID-19 cases will soon surge.

What’s going on?

The Transportation Security Administration. revealed that 1,192,881 people passed through security checkpoints in airports on Saturday, which is a record high for the pandemic.

  • On Sunday, there were 1,327,289 travelers passed through checkpoints. One year ago — before the pandemic — there were 2,422,272 travelers. This means more than half of last year’s total traveled as a novel coronavirus continues to surge throughout the country.

Context:

Travel dipped during the pandemic and remains low compared to previous years. However, there has been a jump during the winter holiday months because of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

What it means:

Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC’s “Meet the Press” the pandemic could get worse because of the increased travel numbers.

  • “This is what happens. It’s terrible, it’s unfortunate, but it was predictable,” he said.

Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told CNN that people need to take precautions for now as people return home.

  • “What we do now matters,” he said. “If you gathered over the holidays outside of your household without a mask, there are still measures you can take right now.”
  • “You still can self-quarantine. You still can get tested, knowing that greater than 50% of the spread now is among people who are asymptomatic,” he added.