NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The nation’s airports saw the highest number of travelers passing through since the pandemic hit this weekend. The TSA says it scanned over 1.1 million travelers, less than half of last year.
Louis Armstrong International was down 43-percent from the same day last year, but 9,900 passengers marked the highest single day since March.
“I came in out of Miami, and there are more people on the plane and I’ve seen a long time since the pandemic,” traveler George Peterson said.
“I mean that number is crazy, but it’s also a family holiday, so, I mean I’m not shocked about it during the year that we’ve had,” Destini Alfonso said while getting ready to check-in for her flight.
“That’s scary. That’s a lot of people,” another traveler Alaya Wells said.
After a year that would make anyone want to run home and hug grandma, for some, it was worth the risk, but they didn’t feel comfortable doing it.
“I definitely do not have hand sanitizer on deck and wipes,” Wells said. “I think we do a lot more actually than we did before.”
Others say they aren’t phased as long as everyone’s following the rules.
“I mean it is what it is and we go out to a restaurant, it’s the same thing as getting on a plane,” Josie Schwyer said as she prepared to head back to Miami.
“People are very mindful of traveling while sick and it is relatively safe, but I do recommend, for most, only travel when necessary, until we figure this thing out,” Taquari Hatch, someone who travels frequently for business, said.
Holding off on the travel is something LSU Health Chief of Community and Population Medicine, Dr. Benjamin Springgate, really wants to emphasize.
“There is some risk involved in virtually any activity that involves being around other people, at this point, and so I think that in the time when the numbers are comparatively low in the pandemic, say, in our community comparatively low period may have been the middle of September, then perhaps with low prevalence in the community air travel might be warranted,” Springgate said.
As we enter the next Holiday season, the entire nation’s situation has grown direr.
“In virtually every state the case numbers are rising, number of hospitalizations are up,” Springgate said.
Springgate says the next holiday season could set us up for a dangerous outcome if we can’t keep it small or virtual and that we may see an increase in our already surging numbers from Thanksgiving get-togethers.
“You have to behave as if everyone around you could potentially be infected with this virus and take all the appropriate precautions to ensure that you’re not putting undue risk on yourself or your family by entering into a situation you don’t need to be in,” Springgate said.
Experts recommend getting tested five days after returning from a trip and try to isolate as best you can before getting the results.
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