Health officials encouraging Thanksgiving travelers to get tested for COVID-19

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – After a long Thanksgiving weekend with loved ones, millions of Americans are now on their way home. The holiday travel comes as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases surpasses the 13 million mark.

The TSA processed more than seven million passengers in the past week, half of last year’s figure but the busiest days for travel since the pandemic began. Experts worried holiday travel could add to the caseload, a caseload that is already surging.

Despite dire warnings from federal authorities including the CDC, millions of Americans traveled over the weekend. Wednesday was the busiest air travel day since mid-March, with more than one million passengers clearing airport security.

So far this month, there has been more than four million COVID-19 cases nationwide, the most in any month since the pandemic began in March.

Experts say if you traveled for Thanksgiving, you should get tested.

“I think there is going to be a spike on top of the spike we have already been seeing. The people that have traveled or exposed to folks outside their family circle are likely to get infected or sick in the first week or so after Thanksgiving, and they themselves may infect others in the second or third week after Thanksgiving. By the time we get to mid-December I think we will be at a pretty high level,” said Baystate Health President and CEO Dr. Mark Keroack.

The Massachusetts biotech firm, Moderna, will submit its coronavirus vaccine for approval. The drug company will ask the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use authorization after completing its Phase 3 trial.

Pfizer is also seeking emergency use approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after finding the vaccine to be 95 percent effective.

Healthcare workers and essential personnel will be given the vaccines first.

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