MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Millions of people across the country are on the move — heading on a Thanksgiving vacation or off to see family in the middle of a global pandemic.

“We just felt like we needed a break,” said traveler Thomas Diaz, “so we’re going to Cancun.”

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This comes just as medical experts are urging people to stay put because of an alarming rise in COVID cases.

“We are now increasing our risk of exposure to individuals whom we have absolutely no idea what they have been up to prior to getting to the airport terminal, prior to getting to the bus, station the train station, etc.,” said Dr. Bindu Mayi who is a Professor of Microbiology at Nova Southeastern University.

The Zahren family is heading to the Dominican Republic for the holiday.

“We’re taking a little Thanksgiving break to visit grandma for her birthday,” said Nadim Zahren who’s traveling with his wife and children.

They know of the travel warning and are taking extra precautions for their family gathering.

“We have to maintain social distancing, make sure masks are always on. I even bought more masks for those who may not have them,” he said.

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A million people nationwide took to the skies on Sunday.

At Miami International Airport, officials were expecting about 52 thousand people a day during the holiday period. What they’re actually seeing is 62-thousand a day.

“You’re talking the difference between the lowest point of 4,000 travelers per day in April and now we’re seeing upwards of 50 or 60,000 passengers,” said MIA Spokesman Greg Chin.

At Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, airport officials forecast more than 68-thousand passengers each day.

For those continuing with travel plans, the advice is to wear a mask properly, social distance and take precautions when you get where you’re going.

“I’m just excited to go home where I guess I’m going to do turkey for one because I have to be on lockdown for the next 14 days in Pennsylvania per the requirements,” said traveler Nikki Schake.

The busiest travel day will be Sunday at Miami International.

The airport is expecting at least 70,000 travelers.

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At Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International, they’re expected more than 80,000 passengers on both Saturday and Sunday.

Ted Scouten