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Flight tracking data shows Americans ignoring pandemic risk for Thanksgiving

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The number of coronavirus infections are at record highs in the United States and hospitals are overwhelmed with new patients.

The number of coronavirus infections are at record highs in the United States and hospitals are overwhelmed with new patients.

But that isn't stopping millions of Americans boarding flights and travelling across the country ahead of Thursday's Thanksgiving.

Air traffic tracker Flightradar24 has shown there are more planes in the air above North America now than at the same time in 2018.

There were 6972 planes in the sky at noon on Tuesday, only slightly down on last year.

The Transportation Security Administration said it screened more than three million travellers at American airports over the weekend.

The million-plus travellers in airports on Sunday is the highest number since the pandemic began in the US.

In spite of having the highest number of infections in the world, North America accounts for 65 percent of planes in the sky, far higher than previous years at this time.

Flightradar24 posted this image of planes flying above North America on Tuesday.

Nearly 260,000 Americans have died of coronavirus, and 179,000 people were diagnosed with the disease yesterday alone.

Despite this, the Centres for Disease Control waited until last week to advise people to stay at home on Thanksgiving.

"Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19. Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year," the statement from the health authority said.

Passengers gather at Orlando International Airport in Florida today.

"It's important to talk with the people you live with and your family and friends about the risks of travelling for Thanksgiving."

The CDC recommended people consider delaying travel or hosting a virtual gathering.

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In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo was criticised for instructing people not to hold Thanksgiving dinners, even though he was inviting his own mother to his home.

Mr Cuomo intended on hosting his 89-year-old mother and two of his daughters at his home in Albany on Thursday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo touts a Thanksgiving-themed mask.

"I didn't want to disappoint my mother," he said.

"Eighty-nine years old, she's thinking, 'How many Thanksgivings do I get?'"

But he has now cancelled those plans.

Celebrating Thanksgiving has now become a heated political topic, with Republican Senator Ted Cruz using the holiday as an opportunity to talk tough.

"Come and take it," Mr Cruz tweeted, along with a clip-art image of a turkey.

Source: 9News

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