Is flying safe now?
In latest Coronavirus Latest News USA, US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings – with Friday marking the busiest day for the nation’s airports since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
- US air travel is rising Fast, despite CDC warnings
- Relief bill for aviation workers signed by President Biden
- Friday marked the busiest day for the nation’s airports since the start of the pandemic
- Travel during COVID-19: FAQs
Coronavirus Latest News USA: Air Travel Is Rising Fast, Despite CDC Warnings
US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings – airports had 1.357 million people pass through on Friday, the highest number on any day since the pandemic started in March 2020.
This new figure from the Transportation Security Administration is good news for the aviation industry, which has been badly affected during the pandemic, but was granted some relief in the stimulus bill that President Biden signed last Thursday. Still, nonessential flights go against the latest guidelines from the CDC, which warned last week that even fully vaccinated people should avoid travel unless necessary.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday Coronavirus Latest News USA on MSNBC, “We know that after mass travel, after vacations, after holidays, we tend to see a surge in cases. And so, we really want to make sure — again with just 10 percent of people vaccinated — that we are limiting travel.”
Plane travel remains fairly low in the United States — Friday’s figures are around 38% less than what they were on the same day in 2019, according to Transportation Security Administration data. However, the latest increase in airline passengers has come as states continue to expand vaccine eligibility criteria and during the peak of spring break season.
The Transportation Security Administration said it had prepared for a possible increase in spring break travel between late February and April – currently US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings – including through recruitment and vaccination efforts for its own officers. The agency’s employees had previously alleged that the more than 6,000 cases among their ranks were caused by lax safety measures.
Coronavirus Latest News USA: Relief Bill for Aviation Workers Signed by President Biden
While the news that US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings is good news for the aviation industry which has been badly affected by the pandemic, the relief bill signed by President Biden is an even bigger relief.
Under the relief bill that President Biden signed last Thursday, tens of thousands of aviation jobs will be protected, providing a much-needed lifeline to an industry that will likely struggle for years even as vaccinations accelerate.
After Congress approved the legislation – which includes $14 billion for airlines and an additional $9 billion for airports and other businesses – United Airlines and American Airlines told 27,000 employees that they could ignore the furlough notices they had received in recent weeks. The airlines had issued the warnings, which are legally required in advance of sweeping cuts, as they prepared to carry out the furloughs at the end of this month when an earlier round of federal aid expired. The new bill extends that assistance through September.
In an Instagram video, Doug Parker, American’s chief executive, said, “If you have one of those WARN Act notices we sent out in February, tear it up. There aren’t going to be any furloughs at American Airlines in April and, with vaccinations on the rise, hopefully never again.”
The Biden relief bill also sets aside $1 billion for aviation contractors $8 billion for airports to help them operate normally, to pay workers, to service their debts, and to limit the spread of the virus. In exchange for this aid, contractors, airports, and airlines are prohibited from large layoffs through September and were forced to make other concessions.
The aviation and travel industry have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic. A year ago, the number of people traveling started to plunge as the virus spread widely and government officials discouraged or outright restricted travel.
Travel has recovered somewhat since then. Presently, US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings.
Still, airlines are collectively losing around %150 million a day on average, according to Airlines for America. However, the widespread distribution of COVID-19 vaccines has given the aviation industry hope for a rebound.
In the meantime, airlines are expected to continue to lose money through the summer. Also, despite the news that US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings, most executives and industry analysts don’t expect travel to recover to 2019 levels until 2023 or 2024.
Friday Marked the Busiest Day for The Nation’s Airports Since the Start of the Pandemic
US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings and Friday marked the busiest day for the nation’s airports since the start of the pandemic.
As COVID-19 vaccines rollout across the United States, more travelers have started to travel again. In fact, Friday was particularly busy – the busiest it has been since the middle of March 2020 when COVID-19 caused air travel to plummet.
Around 1.36 million passengers passed through security checkpoints last Friday. That is the highest volume since March 15, 2020, when checkpoints reported over 1.5 million passengers. However, travel remains well below pre-COVID levels. In March of 2019, checkpoint traffic averaged more than 2 million passengers a day.
US air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings as the total number of COVID-19 doses administered in the United States has climbed over 100 million – around 35 million people are now fully vaccinated. Currently, the U.S. is administering over 2.3 million shots per day.
Despite the growing number of vaccinated Americans, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still advising people to delay travel and to stay at home to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
If you really need to travel, the CDC says that you should get the vaccine (if possible), get tested for the virus less than 3 days before the trip, always wear a mask, and avoid crowds.
Travel During COVID-19: FAQs
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions when it comes to traveling during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Can I travel after I get the COVID-19 vaccine?
According to Dr. Chris Beyer, a professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, if you have received 2 doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, you will be 94% and 95% less likely to get seriously sick.
Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an infectious disease physician, also said that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is also a sound choice. While it is only reported to be 72% effective, it is 100% effective at preventing hospitalization and death, and you can’t meaningfully compare efficacy rates across vastly different clinical trials that took place at different inflection points during the pandemic.
Still, Dr. Beyer emphasized the difference between being protected from the virus and being able to protect your community from the virus. “It is certainly going to be safer to travel once you’re immunized, but on the other hand, we also do not know the answer to the question of ‘Are people who have been immunized still infectious for others?’” he explained.
Dr. Colleen Kelley — an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine who is involved with the Moderna and Novavax vaccine clinical trials also said, “Let’s remember there can be vaccine failures. We still don’t know for sure whether asymptomatic spread is possible in vaccinated people. We need some additional data before we fully understand the implications of the vaccinated person who is in a community where widespread transmission is still going on.”
Is flying safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic? Will it increase my risk of being infected?
While COVID-19 transmission during a flight is definitely possible, Dr. Adalja emphasizes that “it’s more about what you do at your destination that gets you infected when you travel.”
“A lot of people worry about these common-touch surfaces that are on airplanes, and it’s very clear now that the epidemiology of this infection supports a lesser role for surface transmission,” said Dr. Adalja in a previous TODAY piece on the safety of flying.
An important consideration is what steps your airline has taken to contain the spread. While every domestic airline requires face coverings on board and deep cleans its aircraft between flights, there are some remarkable differences.
For instance, Delta Air Lines is the only airline to limit capacity by blocking all middle seats — a policy that’s in place until March 31. On the other hand, Frontier is the only one to take passengers’ temperatures before boarding.
But even with these measures, safety is also a collective responsibility shared by all passengers. Dr. Adalja said that the more contagious variants mean, “you can’t tolerate lapses in your common-sense precautions.” Such lapses include not covering your nose, eating or drinking for prolonged periods of time as an excuse to take off your mask, or wearing a flimsy mask.
According to Dr. Adalja, “In general, I think if you’re wearing a face covering when you’re on a plane, and the airlines are strict about not allowing anybody that has any symptoms that are consistent with COVID — at least that they know of — on a plane, I think it can be done relatively safely. There have been studies that really show if people are wearing face coverings, it’s very hard to get infected on a plane.”
The Bottom Line
While the Coronavirus Latest News USA that air travel is rising fast, despite CDC warnings is somewhat good for the aviation industry, it doesn’t mean that we should get complacent.
If possible, only travel when necessary, and always practice public health protocols. The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet, so make sure to do your part to protect yourself and the people around you!