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As COVID delta variant surges, TSA airport checkpoint screenings drop

Just over 1.7 million people passed through security checkpoints at airports nationwide on Tuesday, as concerns over the COVID-19 delta variant loom.


It marked the "lowest checkpoint volume" in almost two months, according to TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.


This indicates that the enthusiasm for traveling is starting to wane especially as fears surrounding the highly contagious variant grow.


Major carriers are even starting to warn that a surge in cases and hospitalizations is hindering airline bookings again.


In particular, Southwest Airlines disclosed in a regulatory filing that it has "experienced a deceleration in close-in bookings and an increase in close-in trip cancellations" within the first few weeks of August.


The carrier attributed the decline to the delta variant which is driving a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.


Southwest is one of the first airlines to report that the variant – now the leading strain of COVID-19 in the U.S. – has affected ticket sales. Recently, Frontier Airlines executives also blamed the variant for weaker bookings in August.


It's a major contrast to earlier this month when air travel in the U.S. had hit new pandemic-era highs, and airlines were even scrambling to keep up with the surge in passengers.


In recent months, as more people got vaccinated, airports started getting busier, pushing airfares higher.


On Aug. 1, more than 2.2. million people were screened at airports nationwide, the highest checkpoint volume since the start of the pandemic.


This article originally appeared on Fox News

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