The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened the highest number of travelers on Sunday since the start of the pandemic as more than a million Americans traveled home following the Thanksgiving holiday.
The TSA screened 1.2 million passengers on Sunday, marking its highest total since March 16 — just days after President Donald Trump delivered a primetime address announcing travel restrictions to Europe as COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S.
While TSA screening numbers aren't representative of all travel throughout the U.S., the number gives officials an idea of how many people boarded an airplane in the U.S. in a given timeframe.
Despite the uptick in travelers, the amount of Americans traveling following Thanksgiving was nowhere near the amount that traveled on the Sunday following Thanksgiving in 2019 — on that day, TSA screen 2.9 million Americans.
The uptick in travel comes despite warnings from the CDC against traveling for Thanksgiving amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Top ranking health officials are urging anyone who traveled to attend a Thanksgiving gathering to get tested for COVID-19 even if they do not have symptoms.
On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx — a member of the White House coronavirus task force — said anyone who attended a Thanksgiving gathering over the weekend should "assume" they have COVID-19 and take precautions against spreading the virus in the coming weeks.
The U.S. has seen more than 4 million people become infected with the virus in November alone — a number that represents 30% of all cases recorded in the country since the pandemic began.
Last week, Dr. Anthony Fauci — the U.S.'s leading infectious disease expert — warned that the U.S. could see a "spike superimposed on a spike" in cases in the weeks after Thanksgiving if Americans continued to travel.