TAMPA, Fla. — As the COVID-19 delta variant continues to rampage through parts of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked the unvaccinated to not travel and even cautioned the vaccinated to consider the risk.
“First and foremost, if you are unvaccinated, we would recommend not traveling,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. Walensky said people who are fully vaccinated and wearing masks can travel, but “need to take these risks into their own consideration as they think about traveling.”
Anecdotally, news about the delta variant, hospitalizations, and deaths may already be impacting air travel. Wednesday, the Transportation and Security Administration reported screening the fewest travelers since May 11. There could be multiple factors at play in the low number, including Hurricane Ida, school starting earlier, COVID-19, and more.
Still, after screening more than 2 million travelers on multiple days in July and early August, TSA hasn’t hit that number again in more than two weeks. For comparison, in 2021, from May 1-August 31, the TSA screened fewer than 2 million people just four times.
Overall, TSA screenings were down 23 percent from the same time in 2019 (74,445,793 in 2019 vs. 57,484,123 in 2021).