86 U.S. Airports Had TSA Officers Test Positive In Past 2 Weeks

With Thanksgiving just over a week away, the enormous surge in Covid-19 cases across the United States is reflected in a spike in TSA officers testing positive for the illness.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) currently has 585 employees with active COVID-19 infections, according to agency data, which is a 50% jump in less than two weeks.

Over the past fortnight, TSA officers at 86 U.S. airports have tested positive for Covid-19. The list includes nine of the 10 busiest airports in the country — Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Chicago O’Hare, Los Angeles, Dallas-Fort Worth, New York’s JFK, Denver, Las Vegas’ McCarran, Phoenix Sky and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental.

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Many smaller airports are also being impacted. In the Midwest alone, TSA officers have recently tested positive for Covid-19 at regional airports in Waterloo, Iowa; Brainerd, Minnesota; North Platte and Kearney, Nebraska; Evansville, Indiana; Manhattan and Garden City, Kansas; Joplin, Missouri; and Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Since the pandemic began in March, over 2,800 TSA employees have tested positive for Covid-19 and eight have died, according to the agency. The vast majority of affected TSA officers are screeners who come into close contact with passengers and their belongings.

It’s been a challenge to keep TSA agents and travelers infection-free as the nationwide Covid-19 caseload increases. Four out of five states are now “at a tipping point,” according to the risk-assessment map run by the Harvard Global Health Institute and Brown School of Public Health. 

While domestic air travel is still down about 60% compared to where it was this time last year, millions of Americans are expected to fly over the Thanksgiving weekend period.

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