The Abnormal Holiday Season: Lives Are at Stake | Peter Hong
With Halloween right around the corner, the negative toll from COVID-19 has showed no signs of slowing down. In a number of ways, the novel coronavirus pandemic still remains a mystery to public health experts and scientists alike, and no one truly knows when these unprecedented times will come to an end. We do know, however, that this virus spreads very rampantly when individuals are in close contact with each other, and public health experts are arguing that close gatherings of individuals are causing waves of outbreaks plaguing the nation.
As disappointing as it seems, one obvious solution to help prevent further spread of the virus this holiday season will be for as many people as possible to stay home. This means individuals should avoid catching up with distant family members, friends, or co-workers at massive, indoor gatherings. In normal times, roughly fifty million Americans typically travel at least fifty miles for Thanksgiving dinner. This year, the need to catch up with loved ones feels more necessary than ever, and the idea of skipping a very prominent and traditional holiday celebration, when we have already sacrificed so much, feels unfair to say the least. In today’s COVID world, however, skipping massive, in-person holiday celebrations are now deemed to be a civic duty similar to one wearing a face mask in public or social distancing.
The coronavirus numbers are resurfacing again, and on average, there are nearly sixty thousand new cases per day. The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Preventation) has explicitly stated that indoor gatherings put individuals at a high level of risk, and at the very least are recommending that individuals keep their family get-togethers as small as possible and hold them in an outdoor environment if they can. The nation’s leading public health expert on infectious diseases (Dr. Anthony Fauci), has even stated that he will not be seeing his own children this Thanksgiving for safety reasons.
Finally, it can be very tempting to view the upcoming holiday season as a well-earned treat for a year full of struggle. However, one must also take into account the situations of others. Children have lost a considerable amount of time at school to develop and mature, small business owners have seen their prized possessions shut down, and individuals worldwide have watched loved ones die. Thus, taking unnecessary risks now would only exacerbate the problems to come in the future, and individuals nationwide should seriously consider whether or not they will be celebrating the upcoming holiday season in large crowds. With the rapid development of modern vaccines, there’s every reason to hope that next year’s holiday season can be celebrated in person, with loved ones again.