The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed Wednesday that on Tuesday, the agency saw a record low in the number of passenger screenings in airports nationwide.
According to CBS News Transportation Reporter Kris Van Cleave, the TSA screened only about 297,000 people on Tuesday seeing a 16 percent drop from Monday. Tuesday’s screenings were reported to be an 88 percent drop from the more than 2.3 million people screened on March 1.
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) March 25, 2020
The updated numbers from the TSA comes as the nation comes to an abrupt halt over the novel Wuhan coronavirus with travel bans implemented across Asia and Europe. With states and localities now issuing “shelter-in-place” orders, about one in four Americans are on lockdown deterring even domestic travel. More states are likely to announced shelter-in-place orders in the coming weeks as the virus spreads.
Last week, the U.S. State Department updated its global health advisory to a level four urging Americans to avoid all international travel and to encourage those abroad to come home immediately.
The travel restrictions have all but killed the airline industry desperate for a government bail out to survive the economic down turn. In the early hours after midnight Wednesday morning, the Senate agreed on a bipartisan bill with the White House for a $2 trillion relief package that sent stocks in Boeing and American Airlines soaring. Boeing’s shares jumped 20 percent while American Airlines’ spiked 15 percent the morning the deal was announced. The new bill offers substantial loans up to $25 billion to air carriers to continue operations.
As the nation remains largely shut down, many have begun to openly question whether the costs of economic self-destruction and the public health consequences that come with another great depression will outweigh the costs of the virus, especially given that policymakers are making decisions with large gaps in available data.