The TSA, which manages security at most U.S. airports, is looking to hire 6000 screeners because they “expect to screen a higher number of travelers regularly by the summer months.”
Based on anticipated seasonal travel trends in the months ahead and the progress of COVID-19 vaccinations for the general public, TSA has launched national efforts to recruit new employees in support of screening operations at approximately 430 airports nationwide. Targeted recruitment, virtual job fairs, and opportunities in dozens of cities have already been announced for individuals seeking part-time and full-time opportunities.
Domestic travel should recover significantly, though international travel is a long way off,
- Thanks to closed borders
- And a U.S. testing regime for return travel which may remain in place despite lulls is cases and hospitalizations
There’s a worry over faster spread from the B.1.1.7 U.K. variant, and reduced effectiveness against vaccines from the South African variant. But there’s real reason for optimism that even with a virus that spreads faster, and even with one that can better evade antibodies, the summer at least should be ‘pretty normal.’
Just because a variant becomes the dominant strain does not automatically mean we will see a repeat of Fall 2020.
Let's look at UK and South Africa, where cases have been falling for the past month, in unison with the US (albeit with tougher restrictions): pic.twitter.com/Nirsdr17Ws
— Youyang Gu (@youyanggu) February 18, 2021
This seems partly due to seasonal effects. Remember that in the moderate climates of the U.S. Northeast and Europe the summer was fairly Covid-quiet. It was hot regions of the country where people headed indoors that the virus spread quickly. And this was against the backdrop where there wasn’t very much pre-existing immunity, so we couldn’t fully take advantage of seasonality.
Last June I predicted,
There should be a widely available vaccine next year. It could even be approved before the end of the year. …We could have mass vaccinations in spring, then summer 2021 could be normal.
Needless to say this was a very controversial viewpoint at the time, one which I took a great deal of flak for. To be clear I hedged my view – I did not claim to be certain – and I am not certain the direction of the pandemic now.
It’s still a question how much the virus will race back for late fall and winter. It’s urgent to get vaccinations out broadly both to mitigate this and to reduce the number of people infected which limits the opportunity for further mutations. We’ll need the biomedical heroes of vaccination to keep up their incredible work pace for second generation vaccines that are aligned to the virus as it mutates.
(HT: Paddle Your Own Kanoo)