Almost 1.3 million people traveled by air in the U.S. on Sunday—the highest number since the COVID pandemic began this year. According to data released Monday by the Transportation Security Administration, “total traveler throughput”—the number of people physically passing through TSA airport checkpoints—hit 1,284,599 on Dec. 27. That’s thankfully still lower than last year’s tally for the same day, when TSA screened 2,575,985 people and a deadly virus wasn’t ripping through the country. The previous highs occurred on Dec. 23 (1.19 million) and Nov. 29, four days after Thanksgiving (1.17 million). Slightly fewer than 850,000 people flew on Christmas Eve, and a little more than a million the day before Thanksgiving, per TSA figures. Although the 2020 air-travel numbers have decreased significantly compared to 2019, vehicle travel around the Thanksgiving holiday only dipped by a mere 5%, according to one study.
The CDC warns strongly against any travel whatsoever during the pandemic, as more than 330,000 Americans have died and hospitals are overwhelmed with patients sick with the highly contagious virus.