TSA screens more than 2M passengers for third straight day, despite rise in Covid-19 cases

Sarah Fortinsky and Amir Vera, CNNPublished 19th December 2021
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(CNN) — Despite a rise in Covid-19 cases and new restrictions emerging across the country, travelers at US airports do not appear to be deterred from following through on their vacation plans.
More than 2 million people were screened at US airports December 16, 17 and 18, according to checkpoint data from the Transportation Security Administration.
Those numbers are nearly double what they were a year ago but fall short of the pre-pandemic 2019 figures, the data shows.
These increased numbers come as cities and even sports leagues struggle to control the surge in Covid cases and hospitalizations. Already this week, major sports leagues have postponed or canceled events because of outbreaks among players or rising cases within cities.
This year, 2.063 million traveled on December 16, 2.234 million traveled on December 17 and 2.035 million traveled on December 18.
On those same days in 2020, 846,934 traveled on the 16th, 1.067 million traveled on the 17th and 1.074 million traveled on the 18th.
Holiday travelers wait in line for their TSA screening at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, December 16, 2021.
Holiday travelers wait in line for their TSA screening at Los Angeles International Airport on Thursday, December 16, 2021.
Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram/Getty Images
In 2019, 2.471 million traveled on December 16, 2.608 million traveled on December 17 and 2.488 million traveled on December 18.
That the number of travelers is nearly the same as it was before the pandemic suggests people thus far are not canceling plans despite new warnings about Omicron.
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.
On ABC on Sunday, Fauci -- the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases -- stood by a claim he made earlier in the week that people should feel comfortable traveling when with family, but he also said not to gather with those whose vaccination status is not known.
"It is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into the winter," Fauci told CNN's Jake Tapper acknowledging the difficulty of wearing masks all the time.