Eppley Airfield seeing bump in travelers despite CDC warnings

Thanksgiving Day travel busy despite pandemic
Posted at 6:45 PM, Nov 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-24 19:46:00-05

OMAHA, Neb. — Despite CDC recommendations, millions of Americans are traveling all across the country for Thanksgiving. Local medical experts are worried about what holiday travel could mean for COVID-19 in Nebraska.

"This is probably going to be the busiest time in the terminal since March, when the pandemic set in," director of air service and business development for Omaha Airport Authority, Steve McCoy said.

Eppley Airfield expects around 86,000 travelers to pass through the airport this week alone. That's still only about half of what they typically see around this time of year. Regardless, the airport is stepping up disinfecting and cleaning procedures to ensure everyone's safety.

"You can tell people are nervous. People are definitely not as comfortable traveling right now," traveler Adan Torres said.

Some may not be comfortable, but still believe it's worth the risk. According to a new survey conducted by the University of Michigan, one in three U.S. parents feel that gatherings with family for Thanksgiving are worth the risk of spreading or getting COVID-19.

"The question that I think comes up is, is it a risk that everybody who is going to be at that table willing to take," UNMC infectious diseases expert Dr. Kelly Cawcutt asked.

The CDC released their recommendations for Thanksgiving last week and stated that, "postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others".

"If you're going to ignore that advice, then I think you very clearly need to be looking carefully at who's at risk and either excluding them or minimizing their risk and doing all the other things that could potentially be done to make it a little safer," UNMC infectious diseases expert Dr. Mark Rupp said.

With Nebraska seeing a record number of cases and hospitalizations, medical experts just hope the holidays don't create a dangerous situation in our communities and in our hospitals.

"I think that what people need to do is to have a little bit of a longer view for these things and that is that this year," Dr. Rupp said. "It's just too dangerous to come together at Thanksgiving. But we need to hold out the hope that next year we're going to be in a lot better place."

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