By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Although air travel is down significantly compared to prior holiday seasons, millions are still opting to fly home this Thanksgiving. The nation’s top health experts say in doing so, people are putting themselves and their loved ones at risk.

The Transportation Security Administration projects it will screen some 6 million flyers this Thanksgiving week — down from a record 26 million last year.

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Travelers Eyewitness News spoke to at the Philadelphia International Airport Sunday had various reasons for deciding to fly as the nation’s COVID-19 cases continue to climb to nearly 200,000 new infections per day.

“I’m not real concerned, personally,” said Daron Earlewine, who was flying home to Indianapolis. “I’ve already had the coronavirus and so I’ve got antibodies and I’m not real worked up about it.”

”I travel for work, so that’s part of the reason why there’s not a whole lot of hesitation to travel, because I’ve been doing it already for a few months now,” added Davey Blackburn, also of Indianapolis.

Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising against holiday travel, a recommendation echoed by Dr. Anthony Fauci on CBS Face the Nation Sunday.

“As we’re getting into the colder season, particularly with the situation with the holiday season where you see people traveling, you see the clips on TV, people at airports, I mean, those are the things, we’ve got to realize, are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now,” he said.

A survey from AAA found that a large majority of people in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware tri-state area do plan to stay home this holiday.

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Some who have chosen to travel to be with family are taking the extra step to get tested beforehand. A 48-hour rapid testing marathon in Newark, Delaware drew long lines.

“The amount of asymptomatic people in the line that have turned positive has been pretty high, so we’re happy that we’re catching them,” said Jessica Brandt, a physician assistant working the event.

The AAA survey also found that 90% of Pennsylvanians who plan to travel this Thanksgiving will be driving.


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