GOP Rep. Says 'Americans Choose Freedom' after More than 2 Million Fly over Weekend
ARepublican congressman said Americans had chosen freedom after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) revealed that more than two million travelers had passed through their checkpoints over the weekend leading up to the Thanksgiving holidays.
Reacting to the figures posted on social media, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona simply tweeted: "Americans choose freedom." He backed the decision of millions of flyers after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned against Thanksgiving travel last Thursday.
TSA data from Saturday and Sunday shows that more than two million passengers were screened over the weekend—a notable increase on the two-day totals stretching back to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
When the totals for Friday are included, the TSA figures show that more than three million passengers were screened between Friday and Sunday. Roughly twice as many passengers traveled over the same days last year.
The CDC said last week that the "safest way" for Americans to celebrate the Thanksgiving holidays was to remain in their households to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as cases spike across the country.
"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19," the CDC's Thanksgiving guidelines read. "Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year."
The guidelines later advise travelers to always wear a mask on public transport, adhere to the usual social distancing rules and to get a flu shot before they return home for Thanksgiving celebrations.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, told Americans to use "common sense" when deciding whether or not to embark on trips over the holidays, and repeated CDC advise to wear a face mask in public spaces.
"Even if it's a very small group, to the extent possible, keep the mask on," Fauci told CBS. "Nothing is going to be perfect in this. Obviously, it's kind of difficult to be eating and drinking at a dinner with a mask on."
The leading infectious disease expert added that the risk of infection would be lower if people planning to gather quarantined and got tested for COVID-19 before grouping together. However, he did note that it was not "risk-free" as there would still be a window for infection to take place.
At the time of writing, the U.S. has recorded more than 12.2 million COVID-19 infections since the outbreak of the disease earlier this year.
More than a quarter of a million have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. so far, but the vast majority of those infected have recovered.