TSA reports record number of travelers Sunday; millions flew over Christmas holiday

TSA screening
Posted at 8:16 AM, Dec 28, 2020

Despite warnings about spreading the coronavirus by spending the holiday with people outside the immediate household, it appears millions of Americans flew to destinations over the Christmas weekend.

TSA is reporting the two highest numbers of passengers screened during the pandemic on either side of December 25. More than 1.19 million people flewon December 23 and 1.28 million on Sunday.

Sunday, December 27, set a record for the most people screened at TSA checkpoints since mid-March, when concerns about the spread of the coronavirus prompted stay-at-home orders and effectively stopped travel.

It was also just the tenth time since March that more than 1 million passengers were screened at the country’s airports; six of the ten days have been in December. Here’s a look at which days since mid-March have had more than 1 million travelers go through TSA checkpoints:

October 18: 1,031,505
November 20: 1,019,836
November 25: 1,070,967
November 29: 1,176,091
December 18: 1,066,747
December 19: 1,073,563
December 20: 1,064,619
December 23: 1,191,123
December 26: 1,128,773
December 27: 1,284,599

Sunday’s record-high number of travelers is still down roughly 50% from a year ago on the Sunday after Christmas.

The increase in travel has health experts worried about another surge in coronavirus cases, similar to the one following Thanksgiving that many states are still struggling with in the form of full hospitals and a lack of ICU beds and medical staff.

“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Year’s — surge, and as I’ve described it, as a surge upon a surge,” Fauci said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci said he thinks the worst is still yet to come in the coronavirus pandemic.

“I share the concern of President-elect Biden that as we get into the next few weeks it might actually get worse,” Fauci said.

The U.S. has recorded more than 19 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic started, and tragically, more than 333,000 Americans have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. While the number of cases and deaths have slightly declined in the last few days, some experts worry the numbers reflect a lag in reporting data over the holiday and will bounce back up in the next few days.