Despite warnings from public health officials not to travel for Thanksgiving, plenty of people are doing just that. Reports are piling in from airports across the country that describe large crowds. While most travelers wear masks, some photos clearly show people without face coverings.
Video shared on Twitter from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, in Arizona, shows a packed, standing-room-only airport as people wait at their gates to board flights.
Crowds at Sky Harbor: The day after the CDC recommended people cancel their Thanksgiving travel plans, #azfamily viewer Ed Westerfield caught this scene of passengers waiting at their gates pic.twitter.com/r9gIhWlbek
— Max Gorden (@Max_Gorden) November 21, 2020
At San Francisco International Airport, people can be seen crowded together in seats with plenty of others standing nearby as they wait to fly out.
SFO this week, people are stacked on top of each other waiting to board pic.twitter.com/TTLyu6S1wi
— swooshbear (@swooshbear) November 21, 2020
In Des Moines, airport officials told the Des Moines Register that they expect a 50 percent increase in normal passenger traffic in the lead-up to Thanksgiving. And CBS Boston shared a video of Logan International Airport of long lines of people waiting to board flights and a packed check-in terminal.
These reports come just days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged people not to travel for the holiday. “Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” the organization says online. “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” The CDC also urged would-be travelers to ask themselves serious questions such as whether you or someone in your household is at an increased risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, whether cases are increasing in your community, and whether hospitals in your area are overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease doctor, also warned this week about holiday travel, saying during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation that people who are flying for the holiday “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”
Doctors say this could lead to superspreader events across the country
“Airports have done a lot to try to become safer since the pandemic began, and we haven’t heard about airport-based outbreaks,” Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, tells Yahoo Life. But, he says, that was dependent on people following public health recommendations for preventing the spread of COVID-19, like physical distancing, wearing face masks as much as possible, and practicing good hand hygiene.
“Because Thanksgiving is a push for people to travel, most people who don’t adhere to protocols will be likely to be in airports,” Adalja says. “As a result, we will likely hear of more airport transmission.”
Dr. Richard Watkins, an infectious disease physician in Akron, Ohio,