By Trang Do

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As 2020’s Thanksgiving travel period winds down near-empty ticket counters and much shorter security lines Sunday at the Philadelphia International Airport were a stark contrast from years past. This as the United States surpassed 4 million COVID-19 infections this month — a new record.

“It wasn’t packed or anything like that, I think that everyone was taking the precautions that they should have, but it’s still scary,” said Nicole Martinez of Juniata, fresh off of a flight from LAX.

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With air travel down at PHL more than 50% compared to the same time last year, it seems that many people heeded the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warning to not travel and instead celebrate the holiday with members of their own household. It’s a difficult ask that New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy told Fox News Sunday will likely apply to Christmas and New Year’s Eve as well.

“For the next two or three months, we’re in the fight of our lives,” he said. “There’s a lot of private setting transmission going on, so where we can strategically, surgically get at transmission, we do that.”

Meanwhile, on CBS Face the Nation, Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said that people who spent Thanksgiving away from home should make extra efforts to prevent the spread of the virus when they return.

”We’re really asking families to even mask indoors, if they chose to gather at Thanksgiving, and others went across the country or even into the next state,” Birx said.

Michael Merlino said flying to visit his hometown of Berlin, New Jersey, was important to him, but also risky, so he’s taking steps to protect others when he gets back to Southern California.

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“I’m going to take some sick time in the morning, go get tested, and then I’m doing a self-quarantine for 14 days before I go back into the office,” Merlino said.

Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine announced an order earlier this month that anyone coming into Pennsylvania should have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of entering the state or should quarantine for 14 days. The order does not apply to people commuting for work or medical treatment.

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