Monday, December 21, 2020

Millions Of People Flying Despite Public Health Pleas To Stay Put

Crowds are seen at Washington's Reagan National Airport on Friday. More than a million people went through airport security each of the past two days, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

Matthew S. Schwartz
NPR News

More than 2 million people have passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports over the last two days, according to statistics provided by the Transportation Security Administration. This is despite official guidance to stay home for the holidays as the coronavirus pandemic rages and the nation's death toll continues to rise.

On both Friday and Saturday, about 1.07 million travelers passed through TSA checkpoints, the agency reported. That's down nearly 60% from last year, but still much higher than the typical checkpoint statistics since the pandemic began.

More than 17 million cases of the virus have been reported in the U.S., and over 317,000 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The TSA had expected passenger volume to increase during the end-of-year holiday travel season. In addition to the typical pandemic advice — keep six feet apart from others and wear a face mask — the agency advised arriving early to allow extra time to go through security. "COVID-19 has affected staffing and operations across the airport environment, so extra time will keep your stress level low," the agency said in a blog post Friday.  Read more >>