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Airports see surge in holiday travel as COVID-19 cases rise

TSA has logged an average of around one million passengers each day during the week of Christmas

ATLANTA — Millions of Americans are traveling for the holidays, ignoring guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC advised against traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday as well.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) tracked 10 million passengers who went through airport checkpoints during the week of Thanksgiving. The nation saw a surge in COVID-19 cases since, which included a rise in hospitalizations as well. The pandemic has also caused complications worldwide.

TSA logged more than one million passengers three days in a row from December 18-20. While travel dipped slightly nationwide, TSA tracked increasing numbers by midweek. 

At Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, travel has been steady. Wait times fluctuated between 5 and 45 minutes Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Atlanta airport fell victim to a TSA checkpoint network issue. It has since been resolved.

Hartsfield-Jackson recently upgraded security features and safety protocols in light of the pandemic and an expectation to see more passengers during the holidays.

RELATED: US airport traffic rising despite holiday travel warnings

The uptick in travel comes as airlines could get a needed boost in the COVID-19 relief bill to keep employees working through one of the busiest times of the year for travel.

RELATED: What airlines, other industries got in $900B COVID-19 relief bill

"I think people want normal," Colene Mason said. "They're ready to be with family and travel and see people and they're willing to take risks to be able to do that."

The CDC recommends anyone who travels to quarantine based on guidance from their local health department and get tested for COVID-19.

RELATED: A season of fear, not cheer, as coronavirus changes Christmas