Despite Covid travel warnings, more than 1 million people passed through US airports Friday

CNN's Bianna Golodryga reports on the impacts holiday travel may have on the rising number of coronavirus infections, as students try to return home for Thanksgiving break.

Posted: Nov 22, 2020 5:01 AM
Updated: Nov 22, 2020 5:01 AM

Despite a record number of new Covid cases and the Centers for Disease Control recommending against traveling for Thanksgiving, Friday was the second busiest day at US airports since the pandemic brought air travel to a near halt in March.

The Transportation Security Administration screened slightly more than 1 million people at US airports. While that's still only 40% of the volume screened on the Friday before Thanksgiving a year ago, it marks only the second time since mid-March that 1 million people have been screened in a day. The first time was on October 18.

The rush of travelers comes on a day that Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new US Covid-19 cases confirmed. And it comes the day after the CDC issued its warning against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

United Airlines on Thursday said that it has seen some increase in flight cancellations and a drop-off in bookings with the rising number of Covid cases. Southwest and American Airlines are also reporting a decline in bookings, though they have yet to report any increase in canceled reservations.

Even so, US airlines are bracing for their busiest week since the start of the pandemic. American Airlines said it will increase its schedule by about 15% during Thanksgiving week, compared to the rest of November, from a daily average of 3,500 flights to more than 4,000 flights.

The airlines insist that the cleaning procedures used between flights, the exchange of fresh air in the cabin throughout flights and the hospital-quality air filters now used on planes make it safe to fly even during a pandemic outbreak. The airlines also insist passengers wear masks.

The CDC's concern is not about the spread of the disease during a flight, but rather whether large family gatherings during the holiday will spread cases of the disease, especially with hospitals in many part of the country already at capacity treating Covid patients.

The airline industry is neither encouraging nor discouraging holiday travel, the head of the industry's trade group said Thursday.

"Do we want to see them travel? Yes, but only if it's safe for them," said Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. "There's a variety of factors involved in that for each individual traveler."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
Chico
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 64°
Oroville
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 63° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 62°
Paradise
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 64°
Chester
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 39°
Red Bluff
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 66°
Willows
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 64°
Mostly sunny & dry weather is ahead for your Monday. The potential for showers will return to mostly mountain areas late Tuesday night through Wednesday .We'll be drying back out for Thanksgiving.
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