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U.S. airport traffic high despite public health pleas to avoid holiday travel

On Friday and Saturday, more than one million people made their way through U.S. airport security checkpoints, as public health officials urge Americans not to travel for the holidays due to the surge in coronavirus cases.

U.S. airports have screened more than one million people a day only four times since mid-March, with three of those times around Thanksgiving. Now, the seven-day rolling average of new coronavirus cases is more than 215,000 a day, up from about 176,000 on the day before Thanksgiving. Public health experts — who asked people to stay home and not gather indoors with other households during the holiday — believe Thanksgiving travel is one reason why the number has increased.

The coronavirus is spreading uncontrollably in most of the country, and hospitals are straining to provide care. In an advisory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explained that "postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19." Still, AAA projects about 85 million Americans will travel between Dec. 23 and Jan. 3, primarily by car.