Holiday Travel Returns as New COVID-19 Variant Emerges

The 2021 Thanksgiving travel season has seen millions of people travel, returning close to 2019 numbers

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According to TSA 2 million people passed through U.S. airport security in the seven days leading up to Thanksgiving, taking a dip on Thanksgiving and the day after, before seeing an uptick again in travelers on Saturday.

Many people said they are happy to once again be visiting friends and family and that they feel safe doing so during an ongoing pandemic.

“Everyone's masked up, so it feels safe,” Traveler Anjali Naik said.

The holiday travel season comes as a new COVID-19 variant named omicron emerged.

The new variant was first detected in South Africa and has now spread to many European nations and Canada.

Some people interviewed at San Diego International Airport felt that it was too soon to decide if this will change their travel plans in the future.

“I think there is lack of information right now for me to really feel one way or the other,” Naik said.

Some travelers would like to carry on traveling despite the news of a new variant emerging.

“As long as it doesn't interfere with our travel, I don't think it matters will let it play out,” Traveler Marty Douglas said.

The World Health Organization and the Biden Administration consider the omicron variant a “variant of concern.”

The U.S. will suspend travel to many Southern African countries beginning on Nov. 29.

“People will have to do research on how infectious it is and how well it can evade immune responses but what we can see is that the virus has mutated a whole bunch. I think there’s 30 some odd mutations and what we know is that some of those mutations cause the virus to become more infectious,” Chief of Infectious Diseases at UC San Diego Dr. Davey Smith said.

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