Airlines say a record number of Americans are canceling flights after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "strongly" advised against traveling for Thanksgiving during the coronavirus pandemic.
The health department guidelines came as the US hit a new high for COVID-19 infections on Thursday of more than 187,000 and hospital admissions of more than 80,000 patients also hit unprecedented levels.
New data from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) shows that only 907,332 people passed checkpoints on Thursday.
That's less than 2,428,095 who did so at the same time last year – a decrease of 62 percent.
2.4 million people are still expected to fly on the busiest days, but that's half the number seen in 2019.
People also ignored public health guidelines as they waited to tag their bags at Newark Liberty International Airport
Photos on social media have shown people ignoring social guidelines when sitting in waiting areas like this scene at Miami International Airport
At Chicago's O'Hare Airport, people stood in line as they waited to pass the TSA security checkpoint in Terminal 1
The American Automobile Association (AAA) says road traffic could fall to its lowest level since the 2008 Great Recession.
However, for those who have chosen to travel, photos have shown public health guidelines for people who do not practice social distancing when packing airports.
Prior to the CDC's recommendations not to go on vacation, airline executives said bookings were already falling.
"As infection rates have increased across the country, demand has certainly dampened," said Robert Isom, president of American Airlines, during the Skift Aviation Forum Thursday.
"It's really too early to say how deep and how long the depressed environment can go, but we've seen some slowdown in bookings."
In a report filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday morning, United Airlines announced that bookings had also decreased and the number of canceled reservations had increased.
Last year, between the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after, 4.58 million people flew. In 2020, 2.4 million people are expected to fly. This would be the biggest decline since the beginning of the year. Pictured: Travelers walk through the nearly empty JetBlue terminal at Logan Airport on November 20
New data from the TSA shows that only 907,332 people passed checkpoints as of Thursday, a 62 percent decrease from 2,428,095 the same time last year – a 62 percent decrease. Pictured: A traveler walks with their luggage over an almost empty skyway bridge at Logan Airport on November 20
Several airlines warned that they would expect more cancellations in the coming weeks. Pictured: On November 20, an American flag hangs over the almost empty Delta Terminal at Logan Airport
The company warned that total revenue in the fourth quarter will decrease by around 67 percent year over year.
The transportation industry also expects the number of people attending Thanksgiving by air to decrease year over year.
Last year, the TSA screened more than 26 million people from November 22 to December 2.
And during the busiest time, from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to the Sunday after Thanksgiving, 4.58 million people flew, according to the AAA.
This year, they expect that number to be cut in half over the five-day period to 2.4 million travelers, the biggest drop since the start of the year.
However, Americans are already ignoring the recommendations of public health experts when they drive home.
A photo on Twitter showed no social distancing as people waited for a flight at Miami International Airport.
Another on the social platform imagined crowded queues as people waited to tag their bags at Newark Liberty International Airport for United flights.
AAA also expects fewer cars on the road for the holiday season.
Last year, 55 million people went to see family for friends on Thanksgiving. Less than 50 million people are expected this year.
According to the AAA, that 10 percent decrease in road traffic is the largest one year decrease since the Great Recession in 2008.
The airlines report that they have seen a decline in bookings and an increase in canceled reservations for the holidays as the CDC advised Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving
"The wait and see travel trend continues to affect final travel decisions, especially for the Thanksgiving holiday," said Paula Twidale, senior vice president of AAA Travel, in a statement.
& # 39; The decision to travel is a personal one. For those considering traveling, the majority will drive, which gives the flexibility to change vacation travel plans up to the day of departure. & # 39;
For those planning on hosting a dinner, the CDC made some recommendations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Officials advise against compiling the incubation period for the virus from people who have not lived in the same household for at least 14 days.
For anyone visiting a home that they do not live in full-time, the CDC suggests, whenever possible, outdoor gatherings with guests three feet apart and wearing masks.
"Basically, at the household level, it's about an increased likelihood that one of your loved ones will get sick and then be hospitalized and die," said Henry Walke, incident manager for the CDC's COVID-19 response while a briefing on Thursday.
“We certainly don't want that to happen. These times are tough. It was a long outbreak. & # 39;
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