2 million people passed through US airports this weekend, despite COVID-19 warnings

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Despite advice from health officials against unnecessary travel, the TSA reports it has screened more than two million people over the last few days.

At Philadelphia International Airport, about 300,000 people are expected to pass through over the next week. While that's fewer people compared to this time last year, it's expected to be the busiest travel period since the start of the pandemic.

For many who are traveling, it wasn't a decision they made lightly.

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Justin Coffin of Elmira, New York is making the trek to Oklahoma to see extended family for Thanksgiving. In addition to getting tested, he says he and his family strategized about how they would spend time with his 87-year-old grandmother.

"We could do some things with grandma and her wear a mask, us wear a mask, have her quarantine within the house so it's not as dangerous for her," said Coffin.

Amelia Rosenbaum is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania and was flying home to Chicago on Sunday.

"I got two negative tests this week. Penn did a really good job with making testing accessible for everyone," said Rosenbaum. She's also not returning to campus until sometime in 2021.

While some travelers we spoke with had gotten tested before traveling, some didn't but took other precautions.

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Despite advice from health officials against unnecessary travel, the TSA reports it has screened more than two million people over the last few days.

"We have shields, we're going to put on. We're going to wipe our stuff down when it goes through security, our chairs, seats. When we get there, when we get our luggage from baggage claim, we're going to wipe that off as well. Shower when we get there," said another traveler.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health is asking all travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test before entering or returning to the commonwealth. A spokesperson with Philadelphia International Airport said they aren't checking for tests at the airport, but they are encouraging everyone to comply with Pennsylvania's testing requirements.

Karla Salazar, who lives in Philadelphia, arrived home Monday from her native country of Ecuador with her mother.

"We tested before going over there because my country requested the test negative, but now we have to test again to go back to work, this is probably my eighth time testing," she said.

On Sunday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation's top infectious disease experts, discouraged people from gathering with people outside their immediate family - whether they're flying or staying local.

"Consider the people that you want to get into your own family unit. Do you want to bring a large number of people with a big dinner party or a social event and when you're eating and drinking you obviously have to take your mask off. We know now that those are the kinds of situations that are leading to outbreaks," said Fauci.
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