NEARLY four million people have flown through US airports in the past four days as officials warn against traveling for Thanksgiving this year.
According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), 917,354 people checked through US airports on Monday.
That follows 1,047,934 on Sunday, 984,369 on Saturday, and 1,019,836 on Friday, totaling nearly four million people flying throughout the US.
While the numbers are still less than the same time last year (more than 9.3million travelers), the TSA data still shows the increased amount of people traveling for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Health officials have warned Americans that in order to curb an increase in Covid cases amid the holidays, people should not travel to see family, or gather with loved ones.
Dr Anthony Fauci said Thanksgiving dinner could become Covid "superspreader events."
"When we're eating and drinking, obviously, you have to take your mask off," Fauci recently said.
"We know now that those are the kind of situations that are leading to outbreaks."
Fauci told The Washington Post: "You might want to reconsider travel plans, and certainly try as best as you can to keep congregate meetings indoors – as innocent and wonderful as they sound – to a minimal number of people, preferably just members of a household."
"I know this is a difficult thing to do, but we're in a very difficult situation, so it's better to be careful now and look forward to many, many more in the future, then either endangering yourself or a vulnerable member of your family or friends."
On Sunday, he urged Americans to a "risk-benefit assessment" before Thanksgiving.
“I think the people in this country need to realistically do a risk-benefit assessment,” Fauci told NBC News.
Fauci said families should consider whether those gathering for Thanksgiving are high-risk for contracting Covid.
“Every family is different. Everyone has a different level of risk that they want to tolerate,” Fauci said.
“But when you think of the holiday season and the congregating indoors at what are innocent, lovely functions, like meals with family and friends, you have got to at least think in terms of evaluating.
"Do you have people in your family that are elderly, that might have underlying conditions, like someone on chemotherapy, or other things that weaken their immune system?"
Fauci said families should also consider how traveling on its own could expose loved ones to coronavirus.
“Do you really want to get a crowd of 10, 15, 20 people, many of whom are coming in from places where they have gone from crowded airports, to planes, getting into the house?” Fauci said.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said people should “at least give you and your family the benefit of having considered what is the risk-benefit of doing that.”
“You just need to consider it and make your own decision."
Thanksgiving could make or break the United States' virus response.
While many are downsizing Thanksgiving plans, avoiding get-togethers, and wearing masks when they’re around people who don’t live with them, it’s inevitable that people will ignore new state and local restrictions and get together anyway.
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Experts say that could put even more stress on hospitals that are over capacity, and lead to an even bigger spike in sickness and death over the holidays.
The US is averaging 172,000 new virus cases per day, nearly doubling since the end of October.
As of Tuesday, more than 12million cases of coronavirus and over 265,000 virus-related deaths have been reported in the US.