The holiday rush has started, and it is evident from the reports coming from the Transportation Security Administration of the US. The TSA has screened more than 2 million travelers on Friday and Saturday, indicating that the holiday travel rush has already started ahead of Christmas.
The TSA started posting the number of people screened every day to track the pandemic passenger trends. According to the latest numbers coming from the agency, it has screened more than a million people on Friday and Saturday. This is the first time since March that so many travelers have come out on consecutive days. However, when compared to the figures for last year, it is down by a huge margin.
TSA Screened More Than 2 Million Travelers On Friday, Saturday
The travel plummeted in March when the pandemic started across the country, and a lockdown was issued in several states. In April, the lowest numbers for the year were recorded at around 87534 passengers on a single day.
Even as the CDC continues to warn travelers about the Covid 19 situation, the numbers are going higher during the festival season. The Thanksgiving rush was also huge, and it hit more than a million on November 29 after the holiday.
The recent surge in the number of coronavirus cases across the country was attributed to the Thanksgiving event. States like California reported big numbers after the event, and it is now struggling to provide proper health care to patients as most hospitals have run out of ICU beds. Similarly, several other businesses had to shut down after the recent events. The CDC has urged people to travel only if necessary. But the warnings are falling on deaf ears as people continue to ignore the pandemic during the festival season.
Several countries have now banned international flights coming from the UK as a new variant of the Covid 19 virus was found in the country. This has sent alarm bells all over the European region, and it is time to think about closing international travel in the US. There is a huge risk in allowing international travel as the vaccine is still not available for a majority of Americans, and the country is not in a position to deal with the second wave of the pandemic.
Kauai island in Hawaii, which was safe from the pandemic for many months, reported its biggest surge in the number of new coronavirus cases after the island opened for tourism. The remote rural island that has about 72000 residents managed to contain the pandemic as it had only about 61 reported coronavirus cases till September. However, as travel opened up in Hawaii in recent months after October, the island has reported about 84 new cases in the last seven weeks. Not only that, but the island also reported its first covid related death in this period.
This happened despite the efforts of Hawaii to reopen tourism in a safe manner. The authorities made it mandatory for travelers to get tested before they enter the island, and only those who tested negative were allowed inside the island. Others had to quarantine for two weeks before they could again go for testing.
This has shown that it is nearly impossible to contain the pandemic even after taking so many precautionary measures. The government is also in a fix as the island mostly relies on tourism for its income, and it has come to a standstill since March this year. Several airlines that depend on travelers coming to Hawaii from all regions of the US are also affected due to the shutting down of tourism on this island. In this situation, mass vaccinations are the only hope for the tourism sector at this point.