US sees busiest air travel day since start of Covid pandemic as experts warn of 'nightmarish' New Year

AMERICA has seen its busiest air travel day since the start of the pandemic – despite warnings Christmas travel will create a "nightmarish surge" in coronavirus infections.

At least 1.28 million ignored US travel warnings and boarded flights on Sunday, according to figures from the the Transportation and Security Administration.

It was sixth day in a row that around one million people travelled across the nation by air – despite warnings to avoid travel and large gatherings across the Christmas period to slow the spread of the virus.

Experts warned the number of coronavirus infections in January will be "nightmarish" as the spread of the virus could be bolstered by large numbers of Americans travelling during the holidays.

Dr Fauci on Sunday told CNN the nation had reached a “critical point” – warning of a “post-seasonal” surge in Covid infections.

“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Year’s — surge, and as I’ve described it a surge upon a surge,” Fauci said.

Fauci had before Xmas urged individuals to “stay at home, as much as you can” during the holiday season.

Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine, said: "The projections are just nightmarish.

"People can still save the lives of their loved ones by practicing that social distancing and masks. And remember, vaccines are around the corner."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned Americans to celebrate at home rather than traveling to loved ones to curb the spread of Covid-19.

But 84.5 million residents were expected to travel through the whole Christmas and New Year period by road, rail and planes.

Official figures, released daily by the TSA, show how a staggering 1.19 million ignored the advice by travelling on Wednesday – and 616,000 people flew on Christmas Day despite Covid warnings.

A further 1.12 million underwent journeys on Boxing Day, despite official public health advice.

“As we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse,” Fauci continued.

"If you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we have experienced as we have gone into the late fall and soon-to-be-early winter, it is really quite troubling."

The Covid Tracking Project noted that hospitalisations due to Covid-19 have reached record levels, with a Sunday tally showing around 118,720 patients were admitted to hospital facilities.

It was also the 26th consecutive day that the country remained above the 100,000 mark of hospitalizations.

It comes as more than 341,000 people have already died in the US from coronavirus, with more than 19,000,000 total cases – with projections showing a further 193,000 could die over the next few months.

This means around 1 in 1,000 Americans have died of Covid.

Dr Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Baylor College of Medicine, said the New Year projections "are just nightmarish".

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