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Millions travel despite public health warnings

Posted at 5:55 PM, Dec 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-24 20:57:28-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Despite pleas from health agencies to stay home during the holidays, millions of Americans are taking to the skies.

A crowded airport and long-awaited hugs are exactly what health officials did not want to see this holiday season.

"The airport, I felt, was a little more crowded than expected," traveler David Miller said. "People apparently want to travel in spite of COVID."

Whether it's to see an elderly family member, not break tradition, or make up for lost time, travelers packed the San Diego International Airport Thursday.

"They had to cancel Thanksgiving. They were coming home, and we didn't see them then, so we wanted to see them now," Miller's wife, Jan, said.

Health officials have been warning for weeks that Christmas travel is like a 'Super Spreader' of the COVID-19 virus. Gatherings will cause a surge in the already short-staffed hospital systems, and that the death toll will increase. But even with the direst public health warnings, the TSA says around one million people have gone through their checkpoints every day since Dec. 18, 2020.

Jan and David Miller flew into San Diego Thursday afternoon.

"I had concerns, probably greater than my wife, that perhaps flying wasn't a safe choice. However, my wife said I'd be living with a very depressed wife if we didn't come to see our children in California," Miller laughed.

So it turned from a guilt trip to a Christmas trip. But the Millers say they are taking serious precautions.

"Our son thought maybe it would be safe for us to quarantine some and spend time apart from them in a separate location, so we're doing that in an Air BnB," David Miller said.

They will first spend a little time away so that the rest of the time, they can enjoy all that San Diego has to offer together.

"The weather's a little bit more cloudy than what we're used to in San Diego, but obviously, it's much warmer than Ohio, where it is snowing right now," Miller said.