U.S. airports recorded the highest number of travelers on Sunday since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, despite advice from experts to stay put during the holiday season.
The Transportation Security Administration said 1,284,599 people passed through airport security on Sunday.
“It is also the 6th day in the last 10 that volume has surpassed 1M,” TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein tweeted. “If you choose to travel, please wear a mask.”
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And while Sunday’s number is a record for the pandemic, it is still less than half the number of air travelers recorded on the same day of the week last year.
The record shows that, despite warnings from experts, many Americans chose to travel for the holiday. That could result in more virus cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
Following then-record travel after Thanksgiving, leading infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci said it would “almost certainly” cause an uptick in infections. Daily cases, deaths and hospitalizations hit records in the month of December. More than 118,000 people are currently admitted to hospitals for the virus, according to data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The record comes after the U.S. hit a grave milestone in deaths: 1 in every 1,000 Americans has died from the coronavirus, according to data from the Census Bureau and Johns Hopkins University.
The death toll has topped 333,000, and despite the rollout of vaccines, over 200,000 more Americans could be dead by the start of April.