- Thanksgiving travel this week is expected to generate a surge of activity, unfortunately, in spite of the fact that the US is still in the throes of a deadly pandemic.
- A video showing footage of air traffic from Monday reveals the heavy extent to which people are traveling this Thanksgiving week in a disregard of federal officials’ warnings to avoid unnecessary travel.
- As of the time of this writing, more than 12.5 million coronavirus cases have been identified in the US, along with more than 259,000 deaths. That’s according to Johns Hopkins University.
On one level, there’s almost a sickening kind of inevitability that many people start to feel when they think about how the US coronavirus situation is going to deteriorate to a truly horrifying level over the coming weeks, as hospitals around the country are stretched to the breaking point — maybe even, in some of the hardest-hit places, to the point where care has to be rationed. Already, there are estimates that the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the US could approach 3,000 a day by the end of this year. Or, the equivalent of the number of people we lost during the 9/11 terror attacks, multiplied over however many days this low point of the pandemic lasts.
The reason why experts are holding the breath right now about how bad things are going to get — part of the reason, at least — is because not enough Americans are expected to stay home and refrain from engaging in Thanksgiving travel this year. Which is pretty much one of the worst things you could do right now at this stage of the pandemic, given what Thanksgiving usually entails — like meals where members of a family gathering around a table together, in close proximity, talking close to each other face to face, and with multiple generations of a family together, to boot (not to mention all the hugs and other displays of familial affection). Along these lines, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said during an appearance on CBS’ Face the Nation this week that “people at airports” who are traveling this week despite federal guidelines to avoid unnecessary travel “are going to get us into even more trouble than we’re in right now.”
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Here’s one indication that too many people are indeed flowing through the nation’s airports right now. According to the Transportation Security Administration, the agency whose screeners interact in close proximity to the public, it has 571 employees with “active” coronavirus infections right now.
Here’s another indicator. Take a look at the video below, and you’ll see radar-based footage showing air traffic in the US. For just one day this week (Monday):
This footage from Flight Radar 24 shows the heavy level of air traffic on Monday, Nov 23. Despite CDC guidelines that Americans refrain from travel, an estimated 2M Americans are expected to fly somewhere this Thanksgiving week pic.twitter.com/HtAWNw4w4G
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) November 24, 2020
It’s truly shocking to watch the amount of commercial airline activity at this particular moment, when we’re unquestionably in the darkest days of the COVID pandemic. Regarding peoples’ behavior like this, Carnegie Mellon University psychologist Baruch Fischhoff blamed it on the every-man-for-himself aspect to the US coronavirus response in an interview with The Associated Press.
“It has been a colossal, tragic failure of leadership from the very beginning that we didn’t find the common ground in which we were working to protect the weakest among us,” Fischhoff said. “And once you’ve lost that coordination, you’re scrambling to get it back and that’s the tragic mess that we’re in now.”