Apr. 16, 2022 -- The number of COVID cases in the United States is trending upward, but that’s not stopping travelers from jamming airports and airliners for the Easter and Passover weekend.
United Airlines said it expected more than 400,000 travelers a day for the weekend, and Delta said it expected to handle 500,000 people, ABC News reported.
“I think this will be one of the busiest Passover-Easter weekends we have seen in recent history, perhaps the past three or four or five years,” Henry Harteveldt of Atmosphere Research travel industry strategic market research firm, told ABC News.
Transportation Security Administration data shows travel has almost fully rebounded from the pandemic.
The TSA processed more than 2,211,092 million travelers on Friday alone, not far below the 2,457,133 passengers cleared on April 15, 2019, before the pandemic began. The numbers were far lower for that date in 2021 (1,468,218) and 2020 (106,385).
COVID-19 cases are trending upward in the United States because of the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant BA.2, which accounts for the lion’s share of cases. An average of 37,000 cases are being reported each day, a 35% increase during the past two weeks, according to the national data tracker for The New York Times. However, hospitalizations and deaths are still at low levels.
Because of BA.2, the federal government has extended its face mask mandate for travelers in in airports and aboard airplanes until May 3. The CDC said it would monitor BA.2 while deciding whether to extend the mask mandate yet again.
In New York, State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett urged people to consider wearing faces masks when traveling or gathering with family indoors over the holiday weekend.
"Vulnerable New Yorkers and those gathering in indoor public spaces should consider wearing masks—particularly with this new subvariant on the move,” Bassett said in a news release. “If you have not yet gotten fully vaccinated or boosted, now is the time to do so to reduce the risk of severe disease and hospitalization. These recommendations are particularly important as New Yorkers prepare to gather for the upcoming religious holidays or perhaps travel during spring recess."