The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screened more than 1.3 million people at airports nationwide on Sunday, the highest passenger volume since the COVID-19 pandemic brought air travel to a near standstill 10 months ago.
TSA said Monday that 1,327,289 people passed through security checkpoints across the country on January 3. It's a far cry from the 2,422,272 people who were screened a year prior. However, the agency hasn't seen this many travelers since the start of the pandemic in mid-March.
January 3 typically marks one of the busiest travel days of the year, due to families returning from vacation following the Christmas holiday and the start of the new year, according to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.
However, Americans had been traveling in record numbers over the last week despite government warnings that people should stay home during the Christmas holidays to limit the spread of COVID-19.
More infections, hospitalizations and deaths -- on top of an already devastating year -- have prompted a new round of travel bans and lockdown measures in some states.
Still, over the holiday weekend, more than 3.3 million Americans were screened. Last week, the TSA reported that more than 1 million people passed through U.S. airports on five consecutive days last week.
During the weekend leading up to Christmas, TSA screened more than 3.2 million passengers, with more than a million filing into airports on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was the first time that checkpoint volume surpassed 1 million for three consecutive days.
Due to the heightened level of traffic amid a resurgence of cases, officials are continually urging travelers to follow safety protocols such as wearing a mask.