Millions travel over Thanksgiving holiday despite CDC warnings

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- While the CDC was telling people to stay home if possible, this week set records for pandemic travel, with nearly a million Americans going through TSA checkpoints every day except for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"A little apprehensive, I'll be honest, just because of everything with COVID-19 you want to make sure that you're safe, especially when you're going to see individuals of older age," said Alexander Oladele, who traveled from Atlanta to visit family in New Jersey.

Oladele said everyone got tested for COVID-19 before getting together.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can't see how the current restrictions and recommendations around Thanksgiving would be relaxed by Christmas.



Pennsylvania rules require a negative COVID test upon arrival. A spokesperson for Philadelphia International Airport says they aren't checking tests, but still expecting people to comply.

Bill flew in from Chicago and arrived at the airport decked out in PPE. He said he delayed his flight to Philadelphia for a slower travel day.

"It kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I had a bad Wednesday so I took a flight Thursday and it worked out really well," said Bill, who didn't want to give his last name.

Will Oliver came up from Washington, D.C. to visit his parents in West Philadelphia. He said masks were worns inside the house and they tried to stay six feet apart.

"I got tested three separate times and my parents also got tested as well," said Oliver.

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Chicago-based United Airlines has begun shipping the first batches of the COVID-19 vaccine, a source told ABC News.



On Sunday morning, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he expects to see several surges as Christmas approaches.

"We're getting into colder weather in an even larger holiday season as people travel to come back and forth for Christmas. So I don't see a relaxation of the kind of recommendations and restrictions that we've made," said Fauci.

State officials in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are asking travelers to comply with their quarantine and testing protocols.

We found people who did quarantine before seeing family, which was made easier by remote working arrangements.

"I myself spent 10 days before seeing family quarantined," said Ben Durham of New York City.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest travel days of the year. TSA says it screened nearly a million people Saturday, which is slow for a normal year, but busy in the age of COVID-19.

The Philadelphia International Airport is taking its precautions with mandated masks, social distancing reminders and some airlines are doing health screenings for both passengers and crews.

"It feels clean. I guess everything's pretty clean, and I stay away from people. I try to at least, but I don't think you can live in fear. You have to live your life," said Harley Roberts from Georgia.

One recommendation from TSA if you are traveling is to wash your hands before and after going through a checkpoint. Regardless of precautions, health experts still say the safest place to be is at home.
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