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TSA airport screenings hit new high since pandemic

The TSA checkpoint at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport serviced very few holiday travelers in St. Louis last year amid the pandemic. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
The TSA checkpoint at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport serviced very few holiday travelers in St. Louis last year amid the pandemic. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

June 14 (UPI) -- The Transportation Security Administration screened 2,097,433 airport travelers on Sunday, breaking the previous high since the pandemic set on Friday.

The 2,097,433 passengers screened at airport security checkpoints Sunday was up from the 544,046 screened on the same day last year, but still down from 2,642,083 screened on the same day two years ago before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed airport travel, TSA data show.

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The number of passengers Sunday broke the previous high Friday when the TSA screened 2,028,961 passengers in the first return to the average number 2 million to 2.5 million screened per day prior to the pandemic. On Saturday, the TSA screened 1,812,797 passengers, according to the data.

Darby LaJoye, acting TSA administrator, warned in a memo of staffing shortages this month at 131 of the nation's largest airports because of increase in travel, which is expected to surge through the summer, and asked office workers to volunteer at security checkpoints, The Washington Post reported.

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The TSA told The Hill it has made a "concerted recruitment effort" to accommodate summer travel, and it is "well positioned to meet the rising traveler volumes."

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Airport travel has increased since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in April that fully vaccinated citizens could resume travel domestically and internationally with low risk of COVID-19 exposure as long as they wear masks in public.

It previously reached peak over Memorial Day weekend when more than 7 million passed through U.S. airports security checkpoints, according to TSA data.

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As of Monday, more than 144.9 million were fully vaccinated in the United States, according to the CDC's COVID Data Tracker.

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