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Harvard Doctor Says Small Thanksgiving Travel Sacrifices Can Help Avert A 'Major Disaster'

BOSTON (CBS) – Passengers at Logan Airport were wearing masks and face shields Monday to try to stay safe from COVID-19 as they travel for the holiday.

Coleman Nix is flying home to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with his parents and siblings.

"Family is important to me. I didn't want to let a virus- as big as it is - stop me from seeing my family and if we take precautions I think it's a safe bet," said Nix.

The CDC has urged Americans to stay home for Thanksgiving and celebrate with the people you live with.

Despite those warnings, more than one million people passed through TSA checkpoints across the country on Sunday - the busiest day since the start of the pandemic.

At New England's six major airports, TSA officers screened more than 78,000 people from Friday through Sunday - marking the busiest weekend since March.

"Every precaution we take reduces the risk of viral transmission, but it does not bring the risk down to zero," said Dr. Abraar Karan, Internal Medicine Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Karan says he has been seeing an increase in the number of COVID patients he is treating. He's urging people to rethink their holiday plans.

"We have more cases now than we've ever had and people are thinking about traveling and flying," said Dr. Karan. "As much as we want you to see your families we don't want you to see your families in hospital beds the way we are seeing them."

Dr. Karan says if everyone does their part right now, it will make a big difference down the road.

"If millions of people make these small sacrifices this Thanksgiving we can avert a major, major disaster in the coming weeks," he said.

A TSA spokesperson says they are expecting the same number of passengers, if not more, on the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after.

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