May 28, 2022 -- COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are rising, but that isn’t stopping Americans from taking to the skies and highways for Memorial Day weekend.
AAA predicted 39 million people in the United States would travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend – 3 million more than in 2021.
“Memorial Day is always a good predictor of what’s to come for summer travel,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president AAA Travel. “Based on our projections, summer travel isn’t just heating up, it will be on fire. People are overdue for a vacation and they are looking to catch up on some much-needed R&R in the coming months.”
Nearly 35 million people will travel by car, up 4.6% from last year, and 3 million people will fly, an increase of 25%, AAA said. Travel by buses, trains, and cruise ships will triple over 2021, AAA said.
The Transportation Security Administration also reported that air travel numbers are approaching 2019 pre-pandemic levels.
On Friday, 2,384,721 people went through TSA checkpoints – almost a half a million more than on that date in 2021, 2 million more than in 2020, and 200,000 less than in 2019.
In general, recent TSA checkpoint numbers are above 2021 levels and slightly below 2019 levels. Checkpoint numbers from Friday and Saturday have not been posted yet.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID is still a risk and that people should exercise caution while traveling. The CDC recommends travelers wear masks in indoor public places and on airplanes, trains, and buses, though masks are no longer legally required while traveling.
The CDC reports the 7-day moving average of COVID cases was about 110,000 on Thursday, up from about 88,000 two weeks ago. The 7-day moving average of COVID-related deaths was 315 on Thursday, up from 283 two weeks ago. The 7-day moving average for hospitalizations was around 26,000, a 27% increase from two weeks ago.