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TSA and CDC updates— November 2022


With the digital driver’s license becoming more popular in many DMVs across the country, TSA is also embracing the Credential Authentication Technology reader which allows passengers to simply tap their iPhone or Apple Watch at the travel document checking podium. A TSA officer will verify identity and flight status, allowing for a secure and touchless verification experience. If available in your state, TSA recommends eligible travelers complete the process of adding a mobile ID to their Apple Wallet before arriving at the TSA checkpoint. Currently, only passengers with TSA PreCheck added to their boarding pass will be eligible with plans to include other passengers soon. At this time, only select airports are offering the technology so check with your local airport for availability as the technology expands. 


By studying travelers, scientists use Genomic Surveillance for Early Detection of New SARS-CoV-2 Variants. Because travelers move from place to place quickly, U.S. airports are visited by more than 1 billion travelers each year -so it serves as the front line for public health officials to detect variants in arriving international travelers. 

The Traveler Genomic Surveillance program (TGS), is run by the Travelers’ Health Branch at CDC in partnership with Ginkgo Bioworks and XpresSpa Group. It plays an important role in U.S. national surveillance by testing travelers to detect new variants entering the country and fill gaps in global surveillance.

Scientists sequence viral specimens collected from a portion of people who test positive for COVID-19. Data from positive results are analyzed, which can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The scientists then use the data to characterize the virus and to estimate its prevalence in a population. It also helps to evaluate how effective medical treatments are against variants.

For more information regarding this study and to find current up-to-date COVID-19 information please visit