(Reuters) – The United States registered its 12 million COVID-19 case on Saturday, though millions of Americans were expected to travel to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and ignore warnings from health officials to promote the spread of the contagious disease.
More than 12,010,000 cases of coronavirus were reported, according to a Reuters survey of public health data that limited a number of days of record-breaking infections, with the Midwest experiencing one of the most dramatic increases in cases per year. Inhabitant.
Reuters data shows that the rate of new US infections has increased by nearly a million more cases recorded during the last 6 days before the latest record. This is comparable to the 8 days it took to get from 10 million cases to 11 million and the 10 days it took to get from 9 million to 10 million.
More than 1 million people flew through U.S. airports Friday, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration, which raises fears of even greater spread of the virus. It was the second largest domestic air traffic day since the start of the pandemic, despite pleas from health officials that Americans should be home.
“This is the second time since the passenger volume of the pandemic exceeds 1 million,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter on Saturday.
Friday marked another milestone in the United States when the highest number of new COVID-19 cases was reported – 196,815 infections in one day.
Health officials have warned that the burgeoning wave of infections could soon overwhelm the health system if people do not follow public health guidelines, especially around not traveling and mingling with other households for Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving party.
Still, video footage on Twitter showed more than a hundred people wearing masks crowding departure gates at Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona, on Friday. Lines to TSA checkpoints and kiosks at Chicago O’Hare Airport were also long Friday and “reminiscent of pre-pandemic times,” local television station WGN reported.
The number of Thanksgiving flights was expected to fall by 47.5% from 2019, but nonetheless, 2.4 million people were expected to take to the skies, according to a report earlier this month from the American Automobile Association. It said that the number traveling by car is only expected to decrease by approx. 4%.
“For those considering taking a trip, the majority will drive, providing the flexibility to change holiday travel plans until the day of departure,” AAA Senior Vice President Paula Twidale said in a statement.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a “strong recommendation” to Americans to refrain from all forms of Thanksgiving travel.
“We are concerned about the exponential rise in cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” CDC official Henry Walke told reporters on Thursday.
Seven governors in Midwestern states – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan – urged their residents to keep an eye on medical care during the holidays and not celebrate Thanksgiving with people outside their households.
In a video message, the governors also referred to the recent announcement by Pfizer Inc that its COVID-19 vaccine is more than 90% effective. Pfizer said it would seek authorization to use its vaccine from U.S. regulators, the first such use.
“This is good news, but it does not mean we can fail our guard,” said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.
Reporting by Gabriella Borter in Fairfield, Connecticut; Additional reporting from Anurag Maan in Bengaluru and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Clip by Daniel Wallis and Dan Grebler