Despite desperate pleas from health officials and politicians for Americans to forgo their typical Christmas gatherings, over a million Americans have already chosen to defy that wisdom in favor of keeping their typical traditions.
From The Hill:
Transportation officials said an increased number of Americans traveled through U.S. airports over the weekend, despite pleas from public health experts to stay home ahead of the Christmas holiday.
More than 1 million people passed through security checkpoints at U.S. airports on both Friday and Saturday, the Transportation Security Administration reported, according to The Associated Press.
The number of travelers currently taking to the skies ahead of Christmas is the highest since Nov. 22, which was just four days before Thanksgiving.
While Americans hop on planes to see their families, many of the nation’s top health experts are warning them to do the opposite. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued updated guidance in December asking Americans to stay home for Christmas.
“People who do not currently live in your housing unit, such as college students who are returning home from school for the holidays, should be considered part of different households,” the CDC guidance says.
Dr. Anthony Fauci has made similar pleas, pointing out that he did not plan to see his three adult children for Christmas this year and urged Americans to do the same.
“I’m going to be with my wife — period,” Fauci told the Washington Post.
“The Christmas holiday is a special holiday for us because Christmas Eve is my birthday,” said Fauci, who is turning 80. “And Christmas Day is Christmas Day. And they are not going to come home. … That’s painful. We don’t like that. But that’s just one of the things you’re going to have to accept as we go through this unprecedented, challenging time.”
Officials made similar warnings ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, which also went largely unheaded by many Americans. According to data from Flightradar24, there were more active flights in the sky above North America on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving this year than there were in 2018.
The skies above North America at Noon ET on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
— Flightradar24 (@flightradar24) November 24, 2020
White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx recently lamented Americans who defied the experts, calling the trips people made over the holiday a “mistake” and warning Americans not to make the same choices over the Christmas holiday. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it was later revealed that Birx herself travelled to her vacation home in Delaware over Thanksgiving weekend and dined with family members from outside her household.
Thankfully, the dire warnings about a post-Thanksgiving case spike have so far proved unfounded in most areas of the country.
While many have chosen to ignore the expertise of Fauci and Birx, the TSA noted that many Americans have opted to stay home. Despite the recent spike in air travel, agency officials said overall traffic was down 50% from this time last year.