Millions of Americans are expected to travel for the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, ignoring warnings from health officials about furthering the spread of COVID-19 as the nation records its 12 millionth case.
More than one million people flew through US airports on Friday, according to data from the Transportation Security Administration.
That made it the second-heaviest domestic air traffic day since the start of the pandemic, despite pleas from health officials for Americans to stay home and stop the spread of the virus.
Friday marked another milestone in the United States as the highest number of new COVID-19 cases was reported – 196,815 infections in a day.
Signed permission slip to have as many people as you want over for Thanksgiving.
— Austin Smith (@ChairmanAustin) November 21, 2020
Health officials have warned that the burgeoning wave of infections could soon overwhelm the healthcare system if people do not follow public health guidance, particularly around not travelling and mingling with other households for Thursday’s traditional Thanksgiving celebration.
The US Centers for Disease Control has issued a “strong recommendation” to Americans to refrain from all kinds of travel over Thanksgiving.
“We’re alarmed with the exponential increase in cases, hospitalisations, and deaths,” CDC official Henry Walke told reporters on Thursday.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the US surpassed 12 million on Saturday, with the Midwest experiencing one of the most dramatic increases in cases per capita.
The COVID-19 epidemic has claimed nearly 255,000 lives in the US – more than in any other nation – and the recent escalation has prompted more than 20 states to impose sweeping new restrictions this month to curb the virus.