Travelers swarm airports ahead of Thanksgiving

Holiday gatherings that ignore CDC warnings could further fuel an already raging pandemic.
5:46 | 11/23/20

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Transcript for Travelers swarm airports ahead of Thanksgiving
We begin with the coronavirus, surging across the country. Just days before Thanksgiving. Leaving Americans caught between two very powerful forces, the virus, and the urge to be with family and friends. The CDC is warning that we risk fueling an even greater rise. Tonight, the numbers are already alarming, and the peak of the surge is nowhere in sight. More than 12 million Americans have alrested positive. More than 1 million in the past six days. More than 256,000 lives have been lost. An average of 1,400 a day. Hospitalizations risin a all 50 states. A record 83,000 covid patients in hospitals right now. The fear of overwhelming medical resources is rising, along with the urgent need to flatten the curve once again. Those rising numbers sparking the CDC's warning to celebrate Thanksgiving hat home. Yet aaa expects 48 million Americans to travel by car. And on Friday, this was the scene at the airport in Phoenix. The TSA saying they've screened 2 million passengers, the most since the virus took hold. And the fda issuing emergency use authorization for regeneron. And in the most encouraging news yet on the vaccine front, the nation's vaccine czar saying the first Americans could get the vaccine as soon as December 11th. We have a lot to get to tonight, and we begin with Trevor Ault, right here in new yorky.y. Reporter: Tonight, the rush of holiday travelers swarming airports ahead of Thanksgiving. Ignoring CDC warnings it could further fuel an already raging pandemic. You know, you've got to live your life at the end of the day. That's all it is. Reporter: Though a dip in travel is expected from last year, nationwide, the TSA screening more than 2 million people over the weekend. Please seriously consider decisions that you make. You're lining up, not everybody's wearing masks. That puts yourself at risk. Reporter: Millions now scrambling to get tested, waiting in miles-long lines. If I do come back positive, then obviously, I'm going to do the right thing and keep my family safe. Reporter: But medical experts warn because of the virus' incution period, even testing negative won't necessarily protect you or your family. A negative test does not give you a pass. In two or three days, I might turn positive and I will start being infectious and spreading it even before I have symptoms. Reporter: And across America tonight, grim headlines as the virus tightens its grip yet again. In the past week, well over 1.1 million cases, and 10,000 Americans killed -- the equivalent of a person dying from coronavirus every minute. It's like a bad dream. Orter: Houston mother Irma Garcia just retired from nasa, only to fall victim to the virus months later. Every morning I wake up and I want to call her, and I just feel like, why did it happen to us? She was very strong, she didn't have any underlying issues. Reporter: Tonight, a record 83,000 covid patients are in the hospital nationwide. The numbers rising in every single state. This is faster. It's broader. And what worries me, it could be longer. Reporter: And with 15 states hitting new record highs for hospitalizations Saturday alone, more than 1 in 5 hospitals say they're expecting critical affing shortages this week. The hospitals can create new beds, they just won't have the people to staff them. Reporter: Newark, New Jersey, locking down their city the day before Thanksgiving. It would be irresponsible, criminal even, for me to know what happened in the past, watch this thing create itself again, and stand by and do nothing. Reporr: As the infection rate rises in nearby New York, governor Andrew Cuomo threatening to shut down nonessential businesses in parts of New York City. Staten Island is a serious problem. We are running into a hospital capacity issue on Staten Island. Reporter: And as California's average daily case numbers have tripled over the past month, governor Gavin Newsom enacting a 10:00 curfew for much of the state, sparking protests in several cities. Freedom! Reporter: But America's front line workers say they're already exhausted and fearful of what's to come. We definitely don't want to see Thanksgiving family INGs be Christmas family funerals. Reporter: Iowa nurse Nick Klein pleading for people to consider the consequences of their choices. I had a really tough day yest lost a younger patient, and it just kind of hit me, a little bit, thinking about it. We feel for thanurse and all the nurses out there. Trevor, authorities in New York are cracking down, trying to break up illegal gatherings. But they can't keep up with all of them? Reporter: The NYPD says early this morning, they broke up an illegal club in Manhattan packed with more than 120 people. But reports that earlier in the month, a wing was held in Brooklyn, it had 7,000 guests. The governor says if that happened, it's a blatant disregard of the law and he wants a robust investigation. Tom? Trevor, thank you. Now to that potential light at the end of the tunnel.the promise of a vaccine.

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

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