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Los Angeles international Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Many Americans chose to travel by plane ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why it matters: The CDC advised Americans on Nov. 19 not to travel for Thanksgiving, and that doing so may increase the chance of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The U.S. is currently seeing the most coronavirus cases and the greatest strain on hospitals since the start of the pandemic.

  • 25%-30% of Americans said in a Harris Poll survey shared exclusively with Axios that they were likely to ignore health officials' warnings about the risks of gathering with family for Thanksgiving. The survey was conducted from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21.

What they're saying: "There's fewer points of contact between a passenger and an officer. Additionally, it's much better security," TSA administrator David Pekoske told CBS News on Tuesday. Some airports, like LAX and LaGuardia, also offer COVID testing.

  • When asked if he believes people should be traveling, Pekoske said: "I think people should look at all the advice that's out there. And then, I think passengers need to make a judgement."
  • "Every person's circumstance is different. My job, in TSA, and my officer's job, is to make sure that if you do choose to travel, we provide you with as safe and secure experience as we possibly can," he added.

By the numbers: Over 1 million people traveled through TSA checkpoints this past Sunday, agency data shows. Fewer people traveled through security on Monday and Tuesday, as the Thanksgiving holiday drew closer. Pekoske told CBS that TSA expected to see high numbers on Thanksgiving eve, as well as next Sunday.

A traveler is tested for COVID-19 at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Nov. 24. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
People check in for departing flights at Orlando International Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images
O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 25 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 25 in West Hollywood, California. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
A traveler talks to a nurse at a COVID-19 test station at LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Travelers check in for their flights at O'Hare International Airport on Nov. 24 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images
Terminal B at Boston Logan International Airport on Nov. 23. Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 25. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Go deeper

Updated 16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.