ORLANDO — Saturday marked one of the busiest days for travel this holiday season, coming at a time of surging COVID cases and high demand for COVID tests.

What You Need To Know

  • Saturday was another busy day of travel at Orlando International Airport

  • Some passengers were returning home for holidays; others had more travel plans to keep

  • COVID cases continue to surge amid omicron variant

At Orlando International Airport on New Year’s Day, some passengers were able to secure a test before taking flight.

While many people headed home after the holidays, passengers like Carlos Brito were looking ahead to another trip. On Sunday, he sets sail on a cruise.

He’s been tested twice already for COVID.

“You know, we own our own business, so we need to do the tests and everything so we feel safe, and everybody’s safe, you know, like that. (Customers) have comfort in us that we’re doing a good job,” Brito said.

It wasn’t easy though. He waited at a drive-thru site for nearly four hours.

Tests can be hard to come by as Orange County sites are overwhelmed, with many sites closed for the holiday.

That was the theme across the country.

“Americans are waiting too long. I described it as ’The Hunger Games,’ and I really mean it,” said Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

“Personally, I’ve been traveling and I’ve had to rush into store after store and to try to find a test, exposing myself to people who might be infected with this virus."

Brito is concerned over the travelers who fly without first testing for COVID and recommended at-home tests — for anyone who can find one.

“It’s easier. You know, it’s cheap, it’s easier and it’s safe too,” he said, adding it would prevent anyone who tests positive from making someone else sick.