Thanksgiving Travel Surge Could Push Covid Death Toll To 4,000 A Day, Warns White House Testing Czar


The country’s top public health officials are sounding the alarm over a surge in travel over Thanksgiving weekend, with the White House coronavirus task force’s testing chief warning that it could lead to a significant increase in an already-rising death rate.

Key Facts

“A lot depends on this weekend,” Adm. Brett Giroir told CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday morning, deeming it possible that the U.S. could soon reach 4,000 deaths per day.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci shared similarly dire predictions. 

“We may see a surge upon a surge,” said Fauci on ABC’s “This Week,” adding: “We don’t want to frighten people but that’s just the reality.” 

All three stressed that the next week will prove critical in whether the pandemic worsens in the U.S., urging Americans to follow federal and state guidance.

Crucial Quote 

“This weekend with all the travel is really concerning to all of us,” said Giroir. “This is a really dangerous time … If we do the right thing—universal mask wearing, avoiding indoor spaces—we can flatten this.” 

Key Background

Public health experts long warned that the holidays could serve as a tipping point for the country, which entered them with surging cases, hospitalizations and deaths. On Thanksgiving’s eve, both Texas and California broke the nationwide record for the most coronavirus infections reported in a state in a single day, while the death toll reached its highest level since March at 2,300 new deaths. Despite guidance against traveling from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Transportation Security Administration figures show that more people boarded planes on the day before Thanksgiving than any day since March. 

Big Number 

1,070,967. That’s how many people crossed TSA checkpoints on Wednesday, according to TSA data. 

Further Reading 

“U.S. air travel hit post-March peak on day before Thanksgiving” (NBC News)

“State-By-State Guide To Quarantining After Thanksgiving Travel” (Forbes)

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