Holiday travel sees uptick amid COVID-19 concerns

More than 109 million Americans are expected to travel
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Posted at 4:54 AM, Dec 22, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Families who had to cancel plans last year because of the pandemic are making up for lost time this holiday season.

More than 109 million people are gearing up to head out of town until the new year, according to AAA. That's almost 28 million more people than last year.

More than two million travelers were screened at U.S. airports December 16, 17 and 18, according to checkpoint data from the TSA.

Each day security checkpoints saw more than two million people pass through.

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

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.

"The good news is we know that planes themselves are pretty safe. What I advise family, friends who are traveling over the holidays is obviously it would be really helpful if they were fully vaccinated and boosted. That I think is the most important thing," said Dr. Ashish Jha Dean with Brown University School of Public Health.

Despite a rise in COVID-19 cases and new restrictions emerging across the country, travelers do not yet appear to be deterred from following through on their vacation plans.

For those traveling through the skies, AAA estimates airlines will see a 184-percent increase in passengers from last year.

“If you’re going to go on an airplane, make sure you’re wearing a really good mask, so an N-95 mask. And don’t take them off while you’re in a close space," said Dr. Michael Teng, USF Associate Professor of Medicine.