TSA screens more than 2M passengers for third straight day, despite rise in COVID-19 cases

Dec 20, 2021, 6:01 AM | Updated: 6:41 am
TSA screens more than 2 million passengers for third straight day, despite a rise in Covid-19 cases...
TSA screens more than 2 million passengers for third straight day, despite a rise in Covid-19 cases. Pictured is the Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, December 16. (Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images)
(Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases and new restrictions emerging across the country, travelers at U.S. airports do not appear to be deterred from following through on their vacation plans.

More than 2 million people were screened at U.S. airports December 16, 17 and 18, according to checkpoint data from the Transportation Security Administration.

Those numbers are nearly double what they were a year ago but fall short of the pre-pandemic 2019 figures, the data shows.

These increased numbers come as cities and even sports leagues struggle to control the surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Already this week, major sports leagues have postponed or canceled events because of outbreaks among players or rising cases within cities.

This year, 2.063 million traveled on Dec. 16, 2.234 million traveled on Dec. 17 and 2.035 million traveled on Dec. 18.

On those same days in 2020, 846,934 traveled on the 16th, 1.067 million traveled on the 17th and 1.074 million traveled on the 18th.

In 2019, 2.471 million traveled on Dec. 16, 2.608 million traveled on Dec. 17 and 2.488 million traveled on Dec. 18.

That the number of travelers is nearly the same as it was before the pandemic suggests people thus far are not canceling plans despite new warnings about omicron.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and other health officials are encouraging travelers to be cautious, get boosted and wear masks as much as possible, but as opposed to last winter, they are not telling people to cancel plans.

On ABC on Sunday, Fauci — the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases — stood by a claim he made earlier in the week that people should feel comfortable traveling when with family, but he also said not to gather with those whose vaccination status is not known.

“It is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into the winter,” Fauci told CNN’s Jake Tapper acknowledging the difficulty of wearing masks all the time.

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TSA screens more than 2M passengers for third straight day, despite rise in COVID-19 cases