Tag: Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans travel for Thanksgiving, against advice of public health officials

Americans, millions of whom traveled against the advice of public health officials, tried to stay safe before they hunkered down with their families for Thanksgiving, a holiday remade by the pandemic as case numbers and death tolls rise.

Lily Roberts, 19, said she got tested for COVID-19 at San Francisco International Airport before driving home to Marin County in Northern California.

“I’m not worried about it because I’m not at risk,” Roberts said. “However, I do follow the rules and the precautions because of my parents. That’s why I’m getting tested because I do not want to bring it into my home.”

Thanksgiving travel traditionally comes with highs and lows but it’s even more fraught this year as travelers attempt to social distance while navigating crowds.

Lexi Cusano, 23, said Wednesday she encountered people standing too close in airport terminals, some not wearing masks or wearing them improperly, on her way from Miami to Hartford, Connecticut.

“It was just a little bit overwhelming and very shocking to me that people were just — you couldn’t move in a 6-foot radius without hitting someone or breathing in with a person next to you,” she said. “It was just a little bit crazy.”

She said travelers didn’t act any safer on the plane.

“People were just hanging out without their masks on,” said Cusano, who recently took a job in Miami. “I saw them walking back and forth from the bathroom, down the aisles, with no mask on, and I was like, this is a little bit ridiculous now.”

“You know, the main fear people have usually going on planes is: ‘Are we going to crash?’” she added. “But today, it was more like, ‘I’m breathing in the same air that’s been circulating in here and people are just being very irresponsible.’ So that was the main horror.”

Things appeared a bit cramped to Juan Mojuta who flew Wednesday night to Wilmington, North Carolina, from Arizona.

“The first flight was very claustrophobic,” Mojuta told WWAY-TV. “A lot of people. Very gathered. But the second flight wasn’t as bad.”

More than 12.7 million Americans have been diagnosed with the virus since the pandemic’s start earlier this year and deaths have topped 262,200, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Data shows the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases in the U.S. rose over the past two weeks from 127,487 on Nov. 11 to 175,809 on Thursday. The seven-day rolling average for daily new deaths rose from 1,044 to 1,658 over that time.

Millions of Americans took to the skies and the highways ahead of Thanksgiving, despite warning and pleas from elected and health officials in a number of states to stay home and keep holiday gatherings smaller than usual.

Cusano said she got tested at Bradley International Airport in Connecticut after landing and was told to expect results in two to three days.

Regardless of her test results, she said she plans to quarantine in Connecticut for a month or two to make sure

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TSA: Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers high, but less than 2020

A spokesperson for the TSA also said that Wednesday numbers of passengers screened at checkpoints nationwide were at the highest volume since mid-March.

The Transportation Security Administration said early Thursday that Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers at checkpoints across the United States were at just under half of what they were on Thanksgiving eve last year.

As the pandemic slows air travel around the globe, additional guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seems to have possibly made holiday travelers hesitate even more this year before taking a flight.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC recommended that people reconsider travel this year and avoid large gatherings of 10 or more.

TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein announced that as of Thanksgiving eve, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, the TSA had screened 1,070,967 people at checkpoints nationwide. That number comes in at less than half that of last year when, according to the TSA, 2,602,631 people were screened at checkpoints across the country on Thanksgiving eve. 

Despite this, 2020’s Thanksgiving eve passenger numbers were still at the highest volume since March 16, according to the TSA. The agency noted that this is only the 4th time that passenger numbers this year have topped 1 million since March 16.

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TSA records Thanksgiving travel spike in spite of coronavirus risks

The Transportation and Security Administration announced its highest daily screening volume since March on Wednesday.

Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter that more than 1 million people traveled through TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, the highest recorded volume since March 16.

“JUST IN: Yesterday, Wednesday, Nov. 25, @TSA screened 1,070,967 people at checkpoints nationwide,” Farbstein wrote. “It’s the highest volume since March 16 and only the 4th time passenger throughput has topped 1 million since that date. Last year 2,602,631 people were screened on Thanksgiving eve.”

Although the number of screened travelers accounts for the highest volume since March, it still pales in comparison to the more than 2,600,000 people who traveled on the same date in 2019.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have advised against travel during the holiday season.

“Gatherings with family and friends who do not live with you can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu,” the CDC said.

Last weekend, the TSA screened more than 3 million travelers. Over the same three-day stretch in 2019, the TSA checked an average of 2,355,435 people.

“More than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the last 7 days,” the CDC wrote in a statement issued last Thursday, a week before Thanksgiving. “As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with.”

Close to 13 million people have tested positive for the virus in the U.S., and more than 260,000 have died from complications arising from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker.

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US air travel sets a pandemic-era record despite calls to stay home for Thanksgiving

The number of travelers passing through airport security checkpoints in the United States reached its highest level since mid-March on Wednesday despite urging from federal health officials for Americans to spend Thanksgiving at home.



a group of people walking down the street: Millions of passengers have passed through US airport security in the past week, according to the TSA.


© David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Millions of passengers have passed through US airport security in the past week, according to the TSA.

In a pandemic-era record, 1,070,967 people passed through security at America’s airports on the day before Thanksgiving. That number is just 40% of last year’s passenger volume on the same day, when 2,602,631 people were screened.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week urged Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, but since that warning was issued nearly 6 million travelers have passed through airport security.

The TSA receives passenger information from the airlines as part of its screening responsibilities, and the data does not show widespread cancellations in recent days, TSA spokesman Andy Post said.

From September to October, the number of scheduled available seats departing US airports was down nearly 50% compared to the same timeframe last year. Due to increased demand, that number is only down 39% for the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to Airlines for America, a trade association that represents major North American airlines.

While Wednesday was busy, industry groups expect the Sunday after the holiday to be even busier.

The number of travelers passing through airport security amid the coronavirus surge is concerning, but many Americans are heeding the warnings from officials and health experts.

Sixty-one percent of Americans said they changed their Thanksgiving plans, according to a poll released on Tuesday by Axios-Ipsos. More surprising is that nearly one in 10 Americans that were polled say they do not plan to celebrate the holiday at all.

The country added 181,490 new Covid-19 cases and had 2,297 reported deaths on Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The US has posted over 100,000 new coronavirus cases for the 23rd consecutive day.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the percentage of available seats departing US airports. It is down 50% compared to the same timeframe last year.

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Largest Spike in Air Travel Since March Reported Day Before Thanksgiving as COVID Hospitalizations Reach All Time High

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reported its largest spike in air travel since March 16 on Wednesday as millions of Americans took to the skies the week of Thanksgiving.



a group of people wearing costumes: Holiday travelers pass through Los Angeles international Airport on Thanksgiving eve as the COVID-19 spike worsens and stay-at-home restrictions are increased on November 25, 2020, in West Hollywood, California. According to the TSA’s records, more people traveled on Wednesday than on any other day since March 16.


© David McNew/Getty
Holiday travelers pass through Los Angeles international Airport on Thanksgiving eve as the COVID-19 spike worsens and stay-at-home restrictions are increased on November 25, 2020, in West Hollywood, California. According to the TSA’s records, more people traveled on Wednesday than on any other day since March 16.

The number of air travel passengers reported over the last week is significantly lower than the number reported a year ago, however, as health officials across the U.S. continued to warn Americans to avoid travel and other activities that could lead to further spread of the novel coronavirus.

Despite the warnings, the TSA pointed Newsweek to records that show 1,070,967 individuals passed through agency checkpoints at airports across the U.S. on Wednesday. The last time the TSA’s number of reported travelers exceeded that number was on March 16 when 1,257,823 people traveled by air. States began announcing stay-at-home orders in response to the pandemic three days later.

There have been only four days since March 16 when the agency’s records show that more than one million people passed through TSA checkpoints on a single day, including Wednesday and two other days in the last week. In contrast, the TSA regularly recorded more than two million people on average travel days last year. The difference in air travel during the week of Thanksgiving between this year and 2019 represents a decline of about 60 percent, according to the Associated Press.

As of Thursday, November 26, more than 12.7 million people across the country had been infected with COVID-19 since the pandemic began and more than 262,000 people died after contracting the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data tracker. The number of reported cases in the U.S. has been steadily rising in recent weeks, with the tracker showing more than 1.2 million new cases reported in the last week alone. More Americans were also receiving treatment for COVID-19 in hospitals this week than at any other time since the pandemic began, according to The COVID Tracking Project.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Through The Years

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As the number of new infections continued rising, health care professionals throughout the U.S. have been sounding the alarm about what rising numbers of COVID-19-related hospitalizations will mean for hospitals, many of which are already struggling to meet their needs in terms of supplies, staffing and space for patient care.

In anticipation of a post-Thanksgiving surge, government officials at the local and state levels have spent the bulk of this month warning Americans to avoid travel and to limit their exposure to individuals with whom they do not live. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a set of guidelines for Thanksgiving celebrations and Thanksgiving travel, which include wearing a mask while around others, practicing social distancing, becoming familiar with

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Denver’s mayor urged residents to avoid Thanksgiving travel. Then he flew cross-country to see family.

On Wednesday morning, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged residents to stay home and meet family online for Thanksgiving to help curtail the spread of the coronavirus.



Michael Hancock wearing a suit and tie: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apologized for flying to Mississippi to see his wife and daughter soon after urging residents to avoid holiday travel. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


© David Zalubowski/AP
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock apologized for flying to Mississippi to see his wife and daughter soon after urging residents to avoid holiday travel. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

“Pass the potatoes, not covid. Host virtual gatherings instead of in-person dinners,” the Democrat tweeted. “Avoid travel, if you can.”

Then, less than an hour later, Hancock boarded a flight on his way to Mississippi for Thanksgiving with his wife and daughter, his spokesman Mike Strott confirmed to The Washington Post.

The move left critics blasting Hancock for appearing to ignore his own advice at a time when the coronavirus continues to rise precipitously in Colorado.

“Our Mayor has abandoned his city during one of the most critical times we needed leadership the most,” tweeted Tay Anderson, a Denver Board of Education member.

Hours later, amid mounting blowback on social media and from local politicians, the mayor apologized.

“I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head,” he tweeted.

Hancock is the latest politician blasted this month for seeming to skirt the same restrictions that have curtailed life for millions of Americans during the worsening pandemic. Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) apologized after photos showed him at birthday party inside a high-end restaurant where no one at his table wore masks. And this week, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) canceled plans to host his 89-year-old mother and two daughters in Albany for Thanksgiving after critics noted that he had spent days pleading with New Yorkers to avoid family gatherings for the holidays.

Hancock, a three-term mayor elected in 2011 and a vice president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, has been an advocate for coronavirus restrictions. He has pushed residents to wear masks and last week warned that another stay-at-home order might be needed if cases keep rising in Colorado, which has seen covid-related hospitalizations rise in the past week by almost 13 percent.

He has also been vocal about limiting holiday get-togethers. At a virtual news conference on Friday, he suggested residents buy a small turkey and celebrate with their immediate family only. “Maybe next year we can all be together again,” he said. “I’m asking, I’m urging, I’m pleading with everyone. Please stay home.”

But just 30 minutes after tweeting his latest plea to avoid travel on Wednesday morning, Hancock boarded a flight, KUSA reported. Soon after, he was on his way to Houston for a layover before heading to Mississippi, where his daughter recently started a new job, he later tweeted.

After fierce backlash grew against his travels, Hancock offered a mea culpa and sought to explain his decision to fly despite his entreaties to avoid holiday travel,

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Denver Mayor Michael Hancock urged residents not to travel for Thanksgiving just before flying to Mississippi

Then, less than an hour later, Hancock boarded a flight on his way to Mississippi for Thanksgiving with his wife and daughter, his spokesman Mike Strott confirmed to The Washington Post.

The move left critics blasting Hancock for appearing to ignore his own advice at a time when the coronavirus continues to rise precipitously in Colorado.

“Our Mayor has abandoned his city during one of the most critical times we needed leadership the most,” tweeted Tay Anderson, a Denver Board of Education member.

Hours later, amid mounting blowback on social media and from local politicians, the mayor apologized.

“I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head,” he tweeted.

Hancock is the latest politician blasted this month for seeming to skirt the same restrictions that have curtailed life for millions of Americans during the worsening pandemic. Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) apologized after photos showed him at birthday party inside a high-end restaurant where no one at his table wore masks. And this week, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) canceled plans to host his 89-year-old mother and two daughters in Albany for Thanksgiving after critics noted that he had spent days pleading with New Yorkers to avoid family gatherings for the holidays.

Hancock, a three-term mayor elected in 2011 and a vice president of the National Conference of Democratic Mayors, has been an advocate for coronavirus restrictions. He has pushed residents to wear masks and last week warned that another stay-at-home order might be needed if cases keep rising in Colorado, which has seen covid-related hospitalizations rise in the past week by almost 13 percent.

He has also been vocal about limiting holiday get-togethers. At a virtual news conference on Friday, he suggested residents buy a small turkey and celebrate with their immediate family only. “Maybe next year we can all be together again,” he said. “I’m asking, I’m urging, I’m pleading with everyone. Please stay home.”

But just 30 minutes after tweeting his latest plea to avoid travel on Wednesday morning, Hancock boarded a flight, KUSA reported. Soon after, he was on his way to Houston for a layover before heading to Mississippi, where his daughter recently started a new job, he later tweeted.

After fierce backlash grew against his travels, Hancock offered a mea culpa and sought to explain his decision to fly despite his entreaties to avoid holiday travel, a suggestion echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver,” he said in his statement. “I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone. As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to

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Denver mayor offers apology for Thanksgiving travel after urging residents to stay home

He recognized that many people were “disappointed” by his decision.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael B. Hancock headed to Mississippi to join his wife and daughter there, he said.

Earlier that day, the mayor told Denver ABC affiliate KMGH that during the holiday, “if you can, remain in your household. If you can, stay with those in your household.” If you choose to travel, he said to “do what we’ve always been asking throughout the entire experience: Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands.”

He also advised residents to avoid travel “if you can” and to host virtual gatherings this Thanksgiving in a social media post on Wednesday.

Hancock did not mention his own plans to travel. In his mea culpa, the mayor said he should have.

“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel,” he said in a statement. “I have shared how my family cancelled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.”

The news of Hancock’s travels was met with calls of hypocrisy on Twitter. The mayor said he recognized that many people were “disappointed” by his decision.

“As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel,” he said. “I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

PHOTO: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock listens as Colorado Rep. Alec Garnett, D-Denver, makes a point during a news conference about the rapid increase in coronavirus cases in the state Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020, in Denver.

Denver County has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases, with the seven-day moving average of new cases reaching a peak of 728 on Nov. 21, county data shows. The county is in the state’s “level red” risk category, indicating a 14-day average positivity rate of between 10% and 15%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people to spend the holiday at home as the number of COVID-19 cases spike.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis has also urged residents

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Denver mayor apologizes over Thanksgiving travel plans

By Lauren M. Johnson, Kay Jones and Jeremy Harlan | CNN

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is asking for forgiveness after coming under fire for his upcoming holiday plans.

Hours after encouraging Denver residents to avoid Thanksgiving travel, the city’s mayor office confirmed he is flying to Mississippi to spend the holiday with his daughter and wife, according to his office.

“I recognize that my decision has disappointed many who believe it would have been better to spend Thanksgiving alone,” Hancock said in a statement released by his office. “As a public official, whose conduct is rightly scrutinized for the message it sends to others, I apologize to the residents of Denver who see my decision as conflicting with the guidance to stay at home for all but essential travel. I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head.”

The apology comes after he posted a tweet on Wednesday morning stating that avoiding travel is a way to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 over the Thanksgiving holiday.

The city also encouraged residents to only host Thanksgiving dinners with members of their immediate household.

In a statement previously sent to CNN, Hancock’s spokesperson, Mike Strott, that Hancock “will follow all necessary health and safety guidance and quarantine” upon his return to Denver.

According to the latest data provided by the city’s health department, there are 33,971 total reported cases of Covid-19 in Denver since the start of the pandemic.

Hancock isn’t the only local leader who’s not heeded their own advice.

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom received backlash after he and his wife attended a birthday party at the French Laundry restaurant with a dozen others from several different households despite state health guidelines recommending against such gatherings amid a surge in Covid-19 infections.

Newsom apologized for his attendance, acknowledging that he should be practicing what he preaches.

“I made a bad mistake,” Newsom said. “Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up, walked back to my car and drove home.”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo canceled his plans after facing criticism for planning to have a holiday meal with his 86-year-old mother and two of his daughters amid escalating numbers of Covid-19 cases.

The governor had previously warned New Yorkers who plan on holding Thanksgiving celebrations as usual that it was dangerous given that the virus can spread in large indoor gatherings.

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Denver mayor says he ‘should have’ shared Thanksgiving travel plans after urging people to ‘avoid unnecessary travel’

Denver’s mayor apologized for traveling out of state to visit family members only hours after telling residents of the Colorado city to “avoid travel.”

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, a Democrat, who was seen boarding a flight to Houston, Texas, on Wednesday said that although he warned residents of the Colorado capital to refrain from traveling amid the coronavirus pandemic, he decided “it would be safer” to travel to Mississippi to visit his daughter than have her come to Denver.

“I fully acknowledge that I have urged everyone to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel,” Hancock wrote. “I have shared how my family canceled our plans for our traditional multi-household Thanksgiving celebration. What I did not share, but should have, is that my wife and my daughter have been in Mississippi, where my daughter recently took a job. As the holiday approached, I decided it would be safer for me to travel to see them than to have two family members travel back to Denver.”

Hancock was chastised online for his hypocritical decision and apologized for the travel plans after critics noted his office previously instructed residents to stay home for “all but essential travel.”

Hancock admitted that he allowed his emotions to get the better of his travel plans, which fly directly against his own health guidelines.

“I made my decision as a husband and father, and for those who are angry and disappointed, I humbly ask you to forgive decisions that are borne of my heart and not my head,” Hancock added.

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