Holiday travel is expected to be near pre-pandemic levels despite the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant.
Coronavirus infections are on the rise as millions of Americans are expected to travel for the holidays amid rapid spread of the omicron variant.
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The seven-day average of new coronavirus cases increased 25% over the previous week, Rochelle Walensky, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said during a press conference Wednesday.
Nearly 150,000 new infections are reported on average each day, she said. It’s a level of cases not seen since September during the delta surge.
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Meanwhile, holiday travel is expected to be near pre-pandemic levels, according to the Travel Security Administration.
On Wednesday, more than 2 million people went through airport security – a level higher than pre-pandemic numbers recorded on the same day in 2019. More than 2 million people have been recorded going through airports nearly every day of the past week.
President Joe Biden told vaccinated Americans this week that they could carry on with their holiday plans.
“If you are vaccinated and follow precautions that we all know well, you should feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays as you planned to,” Biden said.
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The World Health Organization, on the other hand, has encouraged people to cancel some holiday plans due to the highly contagious omicron variant.
“There can be no doubt that increased social mixing over the holiday period in many countries will lead to increased cases, overwhelmed health systems and more deaths,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Monday.
Biden and his health officials have warned that omicron will lead to an inevitable surge. Omicron this week became the dominant strain circulating in the U.S.
Tags: pandemic, coronavirus, TSA, holidays, public health, travel