It seems Americans are returning to air travel, despite another spike in coronavirus cases in the United States.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says it screened more than 1 million passengers Sunday, the highest number of travelers screened at the agency's checkpoints since March 17, around the time the pandemic hit the U.S.
The weekly volume of screenings was also the highest it’s been since the onslaught of the coronavirus, with about 6.1 million passengers screened nationwide last week.
The number of fliers remains well below pre-pandemic levels, but TSA says the 1 million single-day passenger volume is a noteworthy development that follows significant TSA checkpoint modifications in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The agency says it has been deploying acrylic barriers and technologies that reduce or eliminate physical contact between passengers and TSA officers.
New credential authentication devices are also being installed at various airport checkpoints, enabling passengers to insert their ID directly into a card reader, eliminating the need for a TSA screening officer to touch the ID.
Additionally, many checkpoints now feature computed tomography (CT) scanners, allowing TSA officers to manipulate an image on screen to get a better view of a bag’s contents.
“This technology often enables officers to clear items without having to open a carry-on bag,” TSA said. “The new CT scanner further reduces the need for a passenger to remove contents of their bag during the screening process.”
TSA has established a “Stay Healthy. Stay Secure.” campaign that it says is designed to prepare travelers for the new procedures they can expect at checkpoints
Click here to learn more about how TSA is addressing the coronavirus.
As of Monday morning, more than 219,600 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. and over 8 million have contracted the coronavirus across the nation, according to an ongoing tally by Johns Hopkins University.