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Flights: Despite warnings from Covid, more than 1 million people passed through US airports on Friday

The Transportation Security Administration screened just over 1 million people at U.S. airports. Although it is still only 40% of the volume shown Friday before Thanksgiving a year ago, it marks only the second time since mid-March that 1 million people have been screened in one day. The first time was on October 18th.

Here's why health experts say gathering in groups during the holidays is a bad idea during the pandemic

The hustle and bustle of travelers comes on a day when Johns Hopkins University reported a record 195,542 new U.S. Covid-19 cases confirmed. And it comes the day after the CDC issued its warning against traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday.

United Airlines (UAL) Thursday said it has seen some increase in flight cancellations and a drop in bookings with the growing number of Covid cases. Southwest (LUV) and American Airlines (EEL) also reports a decline in bookings, although they have not yet reported any increase in canceled reservations.

Yet U.S. airlines are holding up for their busiest week since the start of the pandemic. American Airlines said it will increase its schedule by approx. 15% in Thanksgiving week compared to the rest of November from a daily average of 3,500 flights to more than 4,000 flights.

Travelers at Denver International Airport on Friday.  More than 1 million people were screened by the TSA at U.S. airports on Friday despite warnings urging people not to travel due to rising Covid-19 cases.
The airlines insist that the cleaning procedures between flights, the exchange of fresh air in the cabin throughout the flight and the air filters that hospital quality now uses on aircraft make it safe to fly even during a pandemic outbreak. Airlines also insist that passengers wear masks.
The CDC’s concern is not about spreading the disease during a flight, but rather about large family gatherings during the holidays will spread cases of the disease, especially with hospitals in many parts of the country already having capacity to treat Covid patients.

The aviation industry neither encourages nor discourages holiday travel, the leader of the industry’s trade group said on Thursday.

“Will we see them travel? Yes, but only if it’s safe for them,” said Nick Calio, CEO of Airlines for America. “There are a number of factors involved in it for every single traveler.”

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