OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — COVID-19 vaccines gave Americans the freedom to travel and gather with loved ones again this Independence Day — driving air and road travel numbers up to levels unseen since the start of the pandemic.
People arriving back in Omaha were among the 3.5 million travelers expected to pass through United States airports over the fourth of July weekend, which would be the busiest travel period since the start of the pandemic.
On top of that, AAA predicted more than 47 million Americans were traveling this holiday weekend — that could make it the second-highest Independence Day volume on record.
But travel, big holiday crowds and close contact celebrations nationwide raised concern that pockets of unvaccinated Americans could put those gatherings at risk.
The numbers vary by state but southern states, in particular, are lagging behind with low vaccination rates as the more contagious Delta variant is present across the country.
The United States came close but did not reach president Biden’s goal to get 70% of adults at least partially vaccinated by Independence Day with 67% of Americans.