A member of the New York Army National Guard distributes health forms to travelers at LaGuardia Airport (LGA) in New York, United States on Thursday, December 24, 2020.
Angus Mordant | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. air traffic reached its highest level since mid-March on Saturday, fearing that the increase in vacation travel will lead to another spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths in the coming weeks.
Even as the coronavirus raged across the country, 1,192,881 people passed airport security checks on Saturday, according to the Transportation Security Administration.
Air traffic is still declining significantly compared to previous years, but increased during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays despite warnings from health experts and elected officials to restrict travel and family gatherings.
Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that the pandemic could likely worsen over the next few weeks as the US has a delayed influence from vacation travel after Christmas.
"This is what happens. It's terrible, it's unhappy, but it was predictable," said Fauci, one of the country's top infectious disease experts, during an interview on NBC's Meet the Press.
December was the deadliest and most contagious month of the pandemic in the United States. According to the Johns Hopkins University, the country has an average of more than 2,600 deaths per day.
Three states have now also found cases of the new, more transmissible strain of coronavirus in people with no history of travel.
The general surgeon Dr. Jerome Adams on Sunday urged Americans to wear masks and social distancing to mitigate the projected surge in infections.
"What we do now is important," Adams said during an interview on CNN. "If you've gathered outside of your household without a mask over the holidays, now is the time to take action."
"You can still quarantine yourself. You can still get tested knowing that more than 50% of the spread is now in asymptomatic people," he added.