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Thanksgiving leftovers: Another U.S. surge

With Thanksgiving past and Christmas and New Year's approaching, just how much worse is the U.S. coronavirus outbreak going to get?

Between 800,000 and 1.1 million people flew in the days leading up to and after the holiday, according to Transportation Safety Administration data. A fraction of what's typical for Thanksgiving, it's still far higher than public health officials and epidemiologists hoped to see. Time spent indoors and mixing with others contributes to the spread of the virus.

U.S. airports were busy as the Thanksgiving holiday spurred travel despite government warnings.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Americans not only flew, but also drove to Thanksgiving celebrations. The American Automobile Association projected holiday car travel to fall just 4.3% from last year's pre-pandemic level, to 47.8 million travelers. On Monday, however, AAA said travel may have been less than initially forecast because of climbing infection rates and public health warnings.

And while internet purchasing increased, many still hit the road to shop. Chains with lines out the door included Lululemon Athletica, Bath & Body Works and Urban Outfitters. Shoppers camped overnight in some locations of GameStop, one of the few retailers to do brick-and-mortar releases of new video game consoles.

The country may be about to see "a surge upon a surge," top infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." White House coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx said on CBS's "Face the Nation" that Americans who traveled this past week should assume they'd been exposed to the virus and get tested.

The number of new Covid-19 cases in the U.S. topped 200,000 for the first time Friday. There have been more than 265,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Last Wednesday, as millions had already begun their holiday travel, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention forecast as many as 21,400 new deaths due to the virus over the next four weeks.

Ashish Jha, dean of Brown University's School of Public Health, said he suspects those numbers aren't high enough. He expects the number of new deaths to be more in the range of 25,000 to 30,000 in the Thanksgiving aftermath.

"Every time I look at the data, it's worse," he said.—Kristen V. Brown

Latest podcast

A Bubble Made Up of Millions

Four Canadian provinces, comprising 2.4 million people, have banded together, barred outsiders, and hewed to health guidelines. As a result, the region has a Covid-19 death rate that's 10% the rest of the country's. Montreal Bureau Chief Sandrine Rastello reports on the outpost of quiet obedience that calls itself the Atlantic Bubble. Get the episode here.


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There's a hotline to report parties aboard yachts and rented "junk" boats.
People Fleeing Big Cities Overwhelm Small Towns
Formerly quiet backwaters reeling as work-from-home gathers momentum.
There's No Room for Teens in the Pandemic City
Teenagers across U.S. find themselves unwelcome in parks, public spaces. 

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