Daily airport traffic hits 1.5M for first time since pandemic

NOW: Daily airport traffic hits 1.5M for first time since pandemic

NILES, Mich. -- Spring fever is setting in as millions of Americans are taking to the skies once again to travel, breaking records this weekend with the highest amount of airport traffic since the pandemic started one year ago.

TSA reported that they screened over 1.5 million people through U.S. airports Sunday and local officials say it’s not only because of spring break, but that many people are just ready to get back to those plans they’ve been delaying this past year.

“We’ve seen significant numbers going through here over the last week, two weeks or so,” said Mike Daigle, CEO & Executive Director at South Bend International Airport.

As the number of fliers continues to rise, some airline industry groups have even asked the White House to create some sort of guidance on vaccine passports.

But at SBN, they’re still deciding if that’s the best move for travelers.

“I don’t know that a government card should be used to determine where or how you should travel, and what standards do we apply for international travel for the coming and going of people from other countries to here, or us to other countries,” said Daigle.

While the CDC is still recommending people delay travel, health officials say there are ways to do it safely. 

“If you’re able to get a vaccine before you take a trip, that is absolutely the best way you can prevent getting the virus or spreading the virus, if you haven’t gotten the vaccine and must travel, consider getting tested before you go,” said Gillian Conrad, MPH, Communications Director at the Berrien County Health Department.

But remember, just like any vaccine, it doesn’t mitigate all of the risk. 

“Travelers who are fully vaccinated certainly have a very high level of protection against contracting COVID-19, but vaccines aren’t an impenetrable suit of armor,” said Conrad.

Health officials also say choosing where exactly you go for a trip, like states with the most lenient restrictions, could increase your risk of getting the virus.

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