Thanksgiving is over and depending on how you celebrated, it was “the same as usual” or maybe it was the new way of celebrating in a pandemic. Arguments continue as to the merits of the various ways in which individuals can stay safe. All seem to agree that washing ones hands and staying six feet apart are non-evasive enough so that rarely do you hear any complaints. But the other two measures advertised for prevention, the wearing of the mask and not being in large groups of people, cause much argument and loud denial.
Various definitions have been given for large groups ranging from no more than six people to no more than 10 people. Large gatherings such as concerts, bars, protests, etc., are discouraged big time. Various measures have been mandated by local governments trying to enforce the final two measures; most unsuccessfully.
In spite of the government warnings about families celebrating Thanksgiving in the “usual” way, the airlines reported significant increases in passengers over the holiday. Traffic on the highways was equally busy. Families struggled with decisions on how they would gather and celebrate, but many took the path of least resistance and members continued to gather as in the past. What will be the result of these actions? How many more cases of the virus will we see and how many more will die as a result of the public not following the guidance provided?
At this point we just don’t know. The health organizations warned that increased infection rates would rise sharply as a result of Thanksgiving gathering. It is too early at this point to determine if their predictions are correct … or we just get very lucky and rates don’t rise significantly.
And what a shame it would be to see the infection rate rising at the same time that hope is just around the corner with several vaccines that have tested 95% effective. Sure, not everyone will get the vaccine in the first round of vaccinations, but the most vulnerable are forecasted to start getting theirs in mid-December with the entire population receiving it by mid-May. Practicing has already started on the distribution system to get the vaccine out to the population.
So what are you going to do in your family for Christmas this year? Is it celebrate as usual … or make other arrangements that will guarantee a much higher probability that the family will be able to gather in the future as a family of today? Hard choices in reality. Many families have not been together since the pandemic started back in March. Older citizens want their family together so they can celebrate as they have in the past. All that is a normal emotion, but the consequences may be too disastrous to bear.
So think carefully as you make your plans for Christmas of this year. This year has not been a good and kind year for most of us. Please do all you can to make sure it does not get worse. A solution seems to be right around the corner. Lets all be there to experience it as individuals in good health! It’s a lot better to tell people “you are vertical” when they ask how you are rather than to say “I sure do look natural.” It’s your choice.
Jerry Hogan is a former Rockwall County judge. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.