Social distancing is one of the best ways to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus, but thousands of Americans returning from infected areas overseas were crowded together.
Thousands of travelers flying back to the U.S. from Europe before the novel coronavirus travel ban is enacted were forced to wait for hours in long crowded lines at arrival terminals. They were herded together despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations for social distancing to mitigate the spread of the contagious virus. Travelers complained of a lack of hand sanitizer and rubber gloves at check points as well.
On Sunday, Pritzker told Meet the Press that it was clear the travel ban would result in a surge in air traffic and that the federal government should have increased both the number of immigration officials and CDC officials carrying out health screenings and they did neither of those.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal governments top infection disease expert, said on Fox News Sunday that we would like to not see crowds like that.
Fauci didnt point any fingers, instead trying to send the message to Americans abroad that they do not need to rush back.
Its the nature of the problem. When you have a situation when people are in different countries, there are going to be restrictions. American citizens, their family, they can get back. They dont need to immediately get back because they think theyre going to get left out, he said on Meet the Press.
Asked if officials should be spacing out flights better, Fauci said on State of the Union, I mean, I'm not going to make policy here with you, but if you can possibly lessen that crowding one way or the other, we should do it.
Similar scenes played out at Dallas-Fort Worth on Saturday as thousands of international travelers were penned up there, too, waiting between three and five hours to go through immigration controls before being screened by CDC officials.
On Sunday, travelers posted similar photos of tightly packed crowds with seemingly little infection-control measures at Dulles in Washington, D.C., and in New Orleans.
Department of Homeland Securitys acting secretary Chad Wolf said the screenings take about a minute per passenger at the moment, though passengers must pass through immigration before picking up their luggage and finally going through customs.