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Christmas Eve air travel well below 2019 levels amid flight cancellations as Omicron cases increase




(CNN) – Although the number of people leaving US airports this year has equaled and at one point exceeded 2019 levels, Christmas Eve air travel has fallen well below pre-Christmas levels. pandemic.

Thousands of Christmas weekend flights were canceled at the last minute because staff and crew were screaming sick amid the rise of Omicron. The new variant has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the US.
More than 1.7 million people passed through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoints on Friday, according to TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein. he said on Twitter. That’s more than 800,000 fewer people than the nearly 2.6 million examined in 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic.

That number is still higher than the 846,520 people the agency projected on Christmas Eve 2020.

Less than three weeks after Omicron was first detected in the US, this accounted for more than 73% of all new cases as of Monday, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Despite the rise in coronavirus cases, millions are still flying with the TSA reporting on Thursday 2.19 million people screened at airports across the country, the highest figure since the rise in holiday travel began a week ago .

On Wednesday, there were more people traveling through U.S. airports than in 2019.

Worldwide, the airlines have canceled about 5,700 flights on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the next day, according to FlightAware. This includes about 1,700 flights in and out of the United States.

Health officials recommend third booster injections

In recent weeks, reacting to both Omicron and clear evidence of decreased immunity to the Delta variant after six months, public health authorities encouraged those already vaccinated to receive a third dose – the booster – soon.
Adding the third injection is also effective against Omicron, as data from the National Institutes of Health on the Pfizer vaccine show that protection after three doses can reach 80% effectiveness. Preliminary data from Imperial College London on the two mRNA vaccines used in the United States provide protection a third dose between 55% and 80%.

As noted by former NIH Director Francis Collins and UK leaders, boost-induced immunity is also critical to reducing the risk of severe symptoms, even if an innovative infection occurs.