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Thanksgiving weekend wraps up with busiest air travel day since March

While Sunday's airport travel numbers were far lower than 2019's record Thanksgiving weekend, it was still the busiest air travel day since early in the pandemic.

As travelers from around the country head home after Thanksgiving, Sunday set yet another record for the most air travelers at U.S. airports since the coronavirus pandemic hit.  

On Sunday, 1,176,091 people were screened at U.S. airports, according to the Transportation Security Administration. While that's far lower than during the same time last year, Sunday was the busiest air travel day since mid-March.

Sunday also broke the previous pandemic-era record, which was set on the day before Thanksgiving, when 1,070,967 people went through airport checkpoints.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, the CDC recommended that people reconsider travel this year and avoid large gatherings of 10 or more. This year's numbers were still significantly lower than last year's record breaking Thanksgiving weekend airport travel. 

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019, there were 2,882,915 people going through security checkpoints, making it the highest volume day ever in TSA history

While Sunday's numbers were almost half of last year's record setting levels, it was the fourth time in the last week and a half that U.S. air travel numbers have topped 1 million. Outside of this most recent stretch, TSA checkpoints have only seen more than a million passengers one other time since March 16.

The nation's top infectious disease expert said Sunday that the U.S. may see “surge upon a surge” of the coronavirus in the weeks after Thanksgiving, and he does not expect current recommendations around social distancing to be relaxed before Christmas.

The number of new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States topped 200,000 for the first time Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Since January, when the first infections were reported in the U.S., the nation's total number of cases has surpassed 13 million. More than 265,000 people have died.

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