Millions returning home from holiday travels

What do people need to do to protect themselves and their families as they head home from the holiday?
6:01 | 11/28/20

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Transcript for Millions returning home from holiday travels
Trevor Ault for us, thank you. This weekend is the post-thanksgiving rush to return home for all those who decided to travel for the holiday. ABC's elwyn Lopez is at Atlanta's hartsfield-jackson international airport with what you can expect at the airport and on the roads. Good morning, elwyn. Reporter: Good morning, Eva. The airport here seeing up to 35% less traffic compared to this time last year. But across the country the busiest travel day is expected to come tomorrow and with it some worry a surge upon a surge. This morning, the nation's airports bracing for what's ahead. Going against CDC's warnings to stay home, more than 6 million Americans already hit the skies this holiday week. Now they're on their way back. Is this your first time flying during the pandemic? Yes, during the pandemic, yes. Aren't you worried about flying? I was worried more about the mask situation. Reporter: While most wore masks, some say there was little to no social distancing once the plane hit the tarmac. Everybody getting up as you normally would. Everybody standing up on top of each other. That was on the flight going out. On the way back, they were a little bit more compliant. Reporter: Others concerned about a potential uptick in covid-19 cases. I mean, definitely. I'm sure with people getting together and everyone traveling it's not great. Reporter: This, as Sunday is expected to be the busiest day of travel this week. With more than a million people projected to land on that day alone. What we're asking is for passengers to come prepared with patience and be prepared for spacing out in the airports. Reporter: TSA opening as many checkpoint lanes as needed. Those lines thought to be one of the riskiest parts of flying. We ask passengers not to bunch up leading up to the checkpoint. They're going to notice some new technology in a lot of airports. Reporter: So far the busiest airports this Thanksgiving week L.A.X., Orlando and here in Atlanta. And it's not just the skies, a lot of people traveling by road. An estimated 48 million down just 4% from this time last year. Whit. All right, elwyn Lopez, thank you so much. We appreciate it. Joining us now from Massachusetts is Dr. Todd ellerin, an ABC news medical contributor and infectious disease expert. Dr. Ellerin, always great the see you. I want to jump right to it. As elwyn just pointed out the CDC warned Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving, millions did anyway. What do people need to do now to protect themselves and their families as they head home from the holiday? Good morning, whit, and happy holidays. I think what we need to remember is that increased mobility, which we've just seen, is going to lead to a surge in cases. We don't know how high that will reach, but we do know that's going to occur, so the best thing to do now is for anyone who has traveled and, you know, crossed bubbles, you want to go out an get tested. We know probably getting serial tests are good. Because single tests can sometimes lead to false negative remember, we have to pick up the pieces from where we are so we want to continue doing the covid-19 infection prevention measures that we've heard about. You know, time and time again. Speaking of the testing, should people get tested right away, or is there a period of time when people should wait? So that's -- it's an important question. You know, generally what we say is that when you're tested the day that you get infected, you test negative. We know that from studies. So we generally recommend getting tested four days after the last contact you've had but, again, single tests can, you know, have false negatives. We're still recommending it but, if you can get more than one test over time that increases the accuracy and the likelihood that you'll pick up infection. I want to switch gears and ask you about hope on the horizon when it comes to a vaccine. We're told the fda could give a vaccine an emergency vaccine use authorization. You and your colleagues treating patients on the front lines could be among the first to receive that vaccine. How are you and the hospital you're working with preparing for this? Whit, this is such exciting news as Dr. Fauci has said, the cavalry is on the way. When you think about having vaccines with 95% effectiveness in preventing disease that is huge. So we are, you know, number one, I'm very lucky because my partner, Dr. Wilds, who's also an ABC medical contributor, she's actually on governor baker's vaccine task force. So we're in close communication. Our pharmacy, we have the freezer that can accept either vaccine and so we're getting ready for those shipments to come and to, you know, we need to roll up our sleeves and get injected to make this work. As you have heard before the vaccine is great but that doesn't prevent infections. It's vaccination. Getting all the pieces in place. I do want to ask you looking ahead, Christmas, Hanukkah, for those people hoping to see their families then, is there any indication the numbers could improve making it safer to travel? There's been such an onslaught of infections across the country, it's so diffuse right now. We just had Thanksgiving as you heard, a lot of mobility and a lot of travel. We know there's going to be more surge and, remember, what's just happened is built in. We're going to feel those effects in two or three weeks, increased cases. Increased hospitalizations and increased deaths. It's very hard for me to think that we're going to be okay before the Christmas holiday. I hope we are. I know these holidays are so important to get families together but, unfortunately, as you know that leads to, you know, spreading transmission. Again, so much riding on those vacces. Dr. Todd ellerin, always appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. Dan. Let's turn to the white house

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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