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An empty TSA checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, March 30. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration screened fewer than 100,000 people at airports around the U.S. on both Tuesday and Wednesday, per agency data.

The state of play: The 94,931 people screened on Wednesday is down from 2,229,276 on a comparable weekday a year ago. The last time the nation averaged fewer than 100,000 air passengers was in 1954, notes the AP.

  • The steep drop was fueled by plummeting demand for air travel amid the coronavirus crisis — exacerbated by travel restrictions to both Europe and China.
  • Major airlines have also sharply cut their domestic schedules — in some cases by 90% from key cities.

Of note: The count is slightly inflated since it includes airline crew members and some airport employees.

The bottom line: While the airline industry received billions in funds from the government's coronavirus stimulus package, its share prices have been cut in half since the global pandemic started — and there's no telling when revenue and passenger cuts might recover.

Go deeper

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
35 mins ago - Health

Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

Why it matters: New variants can emerge anywhere, and can spread everywhere. Getting doses to the developing world — and getting those doses into people's arms — is essential, and that effort has so far been lagging.