Thanksgiving air travel rebounding, drivers hitting the road too

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Thanksgiving is just days away and people are packing their bags and preparing to resume holiday gatherings. 

“I’ve gotten vaccinated. I’ve gotten the booster,” David Paley said as he prepared to fly at LaGuardia Airport. “I feel fairly comfortable flying. And I think most people, in most places, are taking the precautions fairly seriously.”

Paley is one of millions of people who are flying in the week leading up to Thanksgiving. The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than 2.2 million people at U.S. airports Friday. It’s the highest volume of travelers in one day that the TSA has seen since the start of the pandemic. 

Nitin Gumaste was checking in at LaGuardia’s Terminal B Sunday. He was excited to resume Thanksgiving plans. 

“We asked and it just so happened everybody was vaccinated, so no issues there,” Gumaste said. “Lots of hugs and kisses — that’s why I can’t wait. It’s great to just be out and see everybody after so, so long.”

AAA said it expects Thanksgiving travel to rebound to near pre-pandemic levels. And drivers can expect a lot of traffic. 

“Ninety percent of those who will be traveling will be driving to their destination. That’s 48 million people. That’s the highest percentage that I can remember in a long time,” Robert Sinclair, Jr. of AAA Northeast said. 

The COVID-19 vaccine was just authorized for children 5 to 11-years-old, so that age group will not be fully vaccinated for this holiday. 

The Newhouse family said it’s once again planning a small Thanksgiving in Chicago this year. 

“We’ve been very careful all along. And both of their schools do weekly tests, and we have tests at home that we plan to use if anyone has symptoms,” Melissa Newhouse said before she, her husband and their two kids boarded their plane.

Even with the COVID-19 vaccine widely available, cases are on the rise. Health officials have been concerned the country is heading into the next surge. 

Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s This Week that vaccinated friends and families can enjoy turkey and pie together this year. 

“If you are vaccinated, and hopefully you will be boosted too and your family is you can enjoy a typical thanksgiving meal, thanksgiving holiday with your family. There is no reason not to do that. The thing we are concerned about is the people who are not vaccinated,” he said.

Fauci said the unvaccinated are the major source of infection in the community. 

Health officials recommend that if you want an extra layer of protection, friends and family can take COVID-19 tests before gathering on Thursday. 

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