The Potluck

Air travel plummets as Americans avoid airports during COVID-19 pandemic

By: - April 13, 2020 12:18 pm

This 2017 photograph depicted a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Quarantine Station, Public Health Officer, as she was conducting inspections of CDC-regulated items. This type of activity takes place at 18-United States international airports, and land ports of entry, where most international travelers arrive. In this image, captured at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Enya, a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) dog, had sniffed out a possible banned item in baggage claim. CDC Quarantine Public Health Officer, Erin Rothney can be seen examining an arriving traveler’s luggage for bushmeat, or other CDC-restricted items, with the help of CBP Officers Christopher Hensley (background), and Danielle Niosi, who was holding Enya’s leash. Photo: Derek Sakris

Airports across the United States are nearly deserted as Americans avoid travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Just 90,510 people passed through airport security checkpoints on April 12, compared to more than 2.4 million on the same Sunday last year, according to Transportation Security Administration data

The number of people flying from U.S. airports each day has dropped steadily and significantly since March 1 — 10 days before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. Between March 1 and April 12, the number of people screened by TSA in the U.S. each day declined by 96%.

Last year, the number of people who passed through airport security during the same time period ranged from 1.9 million to 2.6 million.

Domestic travel is not restricted in the U.S., but citizens of other countries who have visited China, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom, Iran and much of Europe in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter the U.S.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.