Over 1M People Traveled By Plane The Day Before Christmas Eve And What Gives?

by Madison Vanderberg
DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images

More people traveled through airports the day before Christmas Eve than at any point during the pandemic

Despite the fact that the CDC warned everyone on November 19 to cancel their holiday travel plans, apparently nobody listened because more than a million people traveled by plane on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 — the day before Christmas Eve.

Per the TSA, 1,191,123 travelers passed through airport checkpoints nationwide on Wednesday, making it the most traveled day of the year since March 16. In other words, December 23rd marked the highest day for airport travel since the pandemic began. It’s worth noting that December has also been the worst month for COVID cases, and you would think that people would avoid travel when ABC 7 NY reports that roughly 143 Americans are testing positive every minute, but okay, America.

TSA Public Affairs spokesperson Lisa Farbstein tweeted that she expects to see similar numbers the rest of the weekend as “the day or two afterward are usually busier as people head home after the holiday.”

The day before Thanksgiving, TSA reports that 1,070,967 people went through airline checkpoints, despite protestations from the CDC to stay home. One could argue that the CDC only released the travel warning a few days before Thanksgiving, not giving travelers enough time to change their plans, but a week or two after issuing the Thanksgiving travel advisory, the CDC basically reprinted the same “stay home” warning ahead of the winter holidays, and again, nobody listened and continued to travel across the country for Christmas.

“Travel may increase your chance of spreading and getting Covid-19,” the CDC says. “CDC continues to recommend postponing travel and staying home, as this is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, over 330,00 people have died from the virus in the U.S. and there have been more than 18 million COVID cases nationwide. Experts spoke to NPR earlier this month and stated that the rising COVID cases in December can largely be traced back to Thanksgiving gatherings and travel. Dr. Anthony Fauci also worries we will see “a surge superimposed on the surge we are already in” due to all the Christmas gatherings.

We know it’s hard not seeing friends and family over the holidays, but to the people who did their part and stayed home, we see you.

Information about COVID-19 is rapidly changing, and Scary Mommy is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. With news being updated so frequently, some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For this reason, we are encouraging readers to use online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.