- More than 3 million people travelled through US airports this weekend in advance of Thanksgiving, defying advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- The CDC on Thursday had advised people to stay home for Thanksgiving. More than 1 million people flew the next day.
- Friday through Sunday was the busiest weekend for air travel in the US since COVID-19 began to spread in March.
- The US is still the world's worst-affected country, with the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Millions of people flew across the US over the weekend in advance of Thanksgiving, defying advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for people to stay home for the holiday to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
More than 3 million people travelled through US airports between Friday and Sunday, the Transportation Security Administration said, citing data from airport-security checkpoints.
It said that 1,019,836 people travelled on Friday, 984,369 on Saturday, and 1,047,934 on Sunday - the most recent day for which data was published at this writing.
The CDC had recommended last Thursday that Americans don't travel for Thanksgiving, which falls on November 26, the Thursday of this week.
It said that "as cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with."
The next day 1 million people did the opposite.
The American Automobile Association said it expected about 50 million people to travel between Wednesday and next Sunday across all travel methods.
The AP said that the numbers traveling so far are less than half than those from 2019.
The AP interviewed air passengers, who spoke of wanting to see their families, and argued that they could do so without putting anybody at risk.
It also reported that many students were going home after colleges ended in-person classes.
As Business Insider's Inyoung Choi reported, footage showed busy airports over the weekend.
This video from 3TV and CBS5 journalist Max Gorden showed crowds of people at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix on Friday:
—Max Gorden (@Max_Gorden) November 21, 2020
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was more concerned about the risks from a crowded airport than being on a plane.
"You are at a crowded airport, you are lining up, not everybody is wearing masks. That puts yourself at risk … that's what's going to get us into even more trouble," he said.
Dr. Syra Madad, an infectious-disease epidemiologist for New York City hospitals, told the AP: "There is so much community transmission all over the United States that the chances of you encountering somebody that has COVID-19 is actually very, very high, whether it's on an airplane, at the airport or at a rest area."
The US is the worst-affected country by the coronavirus, with the highest number of cases and deaths.
As of early Tuesday, more than 12.4 million people have been infected across the US and more than 257,700 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
And cases are the highest they have ever been, with the US regularly breaking its own records for new cases in a day over the past few weeks.