Millions of Americans are traveling on Thanksgiving despite coronavirus outbreaks across the United States, although travel is still down significantly this year due to the pandemic.
About 1.04 million people passed through airport security checkpoints on Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration said, marking the highest number of travelers since mid-March. This number still represents less than half of the number of airport travelers on the same weekend in 2019.
The entire United States has a seven-day average of more than 173,000 new cases of the coronavirus, and nearly 86,000 Americans are currently hospitalized with the disease. The current epidemic is To take place largely in “micropolitan” areas, or small urban groups and rural areas.
Typically, more Americans travel on Thanksgiving than on any other holiday, with over 50 million domestic travelers on Thanksgiving Day alone last year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised against traveling this year to avoid contracting coronavirus.
“Travel can increase your chances of catching and spreading COVID-19”, the agency warns. “Postponing the trip and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”
However, Roger Dow, president of the US Travel Association, told reporters on Thursday that Americans are currently suffering from coronavirus-related “fatigue” and that significant numbers will continue to travel for the holidays.
“Americans in our research tell us they are tired of being home,” Dow said, in comments reported by NPR. “They don’t want to give up travel, and they want to see their friends and family too.”
A number of states, including New York, Oregon, and Michigan, have instituted a ten-person limit for private gatherings, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown has urged state residents to call the police on neighbors they suspect of violating the limit.