Fewer people travel for Thanksgiving, but experts remain concerned about COVID-19 spike

Fewer people travel for Thanksgiving, but experts remain concerned about COVID-19 spike

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Holiday travel has been a longstanding concern for health experts amid the pandemic and some South Carolinians heeded their warnings, but health experts worry it may not have been enough people.

According to a spokesperson for Columbia Metropolitan Airport, about half as many people flew out of CAE during the week of Thanksgiving as did in 2019. Officials say 7,425 people flew out of CAE from November 22 to November 28, but about 14,036 people flew during an average November week in 2019.

SCDOT said there was a less significant decrease in road travel this year. There was a 10% decrease in traffic the week of Thanksgiving this year compared to the same time last year. But, while there was a spike in traffic on the roads going into the middle of November last year, there was a slight decrease going into the holiday week this year.

Despite the slight decrease, doctors fear each of the tens of thousands of people who traveled around South Carolina could further spread COVID-19.

“Most people who flew and went out to dinner where they didn’t distance from other people, you should quarantine until you know you don’t have it and you weren’t infected,” Dr. Helmut Albrecht, chair of Prisma Health and UofSC Medical Group-Department of Medicine said.

Albrecht said anyone who traveled or gathered with people while not wearing a mask last week needs to assume they have the virus for now.

He said people need to wait on average about five to seven days after the possible date of infection before getting tested for the results to be accurate. However, you could still be spreading the virus before you even start showing symptoms. Albrecht said it’s possible to start spreading the virus two to three days after exposure. He was particularly concerned about the 18 percent positive rate DHEC announced Monday.

“Good control is less than one percent positive rate…so there is still too much virus out there. We all have a very good vaccine to look forward to, so we all need to adult a little more and get there healthy. Everyone needs to buckle down for this very foreseeable future,” he said.

Copyright 2020 WIS. All rights reserved.