Health officials are worried that an increase in travel during the holidays will lead to a surge in coronavirus cases on Long Island.
Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends not traveling, the TSA reported more than 7 million people passed through airports in the last week.
Doctors say gatherings over the Thanksgiving holiday caused a surge of COVID-19 cases on Long Island and across the nation.
“We are starting to see now see the effects of all of those people traveling and the gatherings, specifically in the emergency department as our numbers continue to rise,” says Dr. Frederick Davis, with Northwell Health.
With Christmas and New Year’s, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he worries about a “surge upon a surge.”
Long Island’s MacArthur Airport has been busy over the holidays. Travelers say they needed to fly and are trying to take all the precautions they can.
Tiffany Lugo, of Orlando, says she traveled to Long Island to see her boyfriend.
“I get COVID-tested before I come out, he gets tested before I come out, we get tested after we part ways, it’s not really a big issue for me,” she says.
All travelers arriving in New York state will have to fill out a health form under the eye of National Guardsmen.
People can opt out of the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine if they receive a COVID-19 test three days before traveling and then another negative test on the fourth day after arriving in New York. Some travelers told News 12 they’ll be doing just that.
“I looked it up before coming here to make sure,” says Julia Katsock, of West Babylon.
Testing or not, doctors say unnecessary travel now is risky and they’re bracing for the next predicted surge— even as a vaccine is on the horizon.
“In order to spend hopefully next Christmas with them or next New Year’s with them, we need to do our best to reduce our risks now,” says Dr. Davis.
Sunday alone the TSA reported more than 1.2 million people passed through the nation’s airports, the highest number since March.