Everyone in the nation is experiencing pronounced levels of “pandemic fatigue.”
This may be the reason why according to a recent poll 1 in 3 parents are considering risking it all to gather with extended family for the holiday.
Essential workers sacrificing their own lives and safety to treat your reckless relatives traveling across state lines for Thanksgiving this year isn’t only selfish, it’s downright dangerous at this point. You may think I’m being hyperbolic but the statistics speak for themselves in the following press release.
“More than a quarter of a million Americans have died of Covid-19, and the latest forecast predicts 471,000 Americans will die from the virus by March. The death toll is being driven by a massive spike in Covid-19 infections across the country.”
Americans historically don’t enjoy being told what to do, ask Great Britain, but medical experts everywhere urge you to alter your traditional plans of gathering in large numbers this year.
CNN held a candid interview with New Jersey native Cindy McMahon who shared her different approach to celebrating the holiday this year in a safer way.
“When we came to the conclusion that we could not gather together, that didn’t mean that I’m not putting a turkey in the oven and that I’m not going to make all the traditional foods and … three pies and all the goodies.”
Cindy has a plan to package up some dishes and drop off the bags at her mother’s door.
There are so many uncertain factors to consider with people congregating for long periods of time in an enclosed space when each community they came from has different levels of infection rates and they can easily pick up the virus while traveling.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in an interview with the PBS Newshour cautioned folks about the risk of travel.
“When you leave a location and have to go to an airport or wherever it is, a train station, etc., the possibility of exposing yourself and then going home to your home community for a wonderful traditional Thanksgiving holiday might actually, unfortunately, be a source of, or even amplification of, the surge.”
We’re not saying forgo the holiday completely, but we are advising you celebrate a bit differently this year.
Infection rates in children are soaring
Thanksgiving is typically a holiday celebrated by many generations of the family gathering together over festive cheer, food, and laughs.
Unfortunately, with the very real chance you’ll have children under the age of 12 in close contact with high-risk elderly relatives this will not bode well for keeping transmission rates low in the house.
CNN reported rising new cases in children as recently as last week.
As officials continue to warn about traveling over the holidays amid the fall surge, health experts are also investigating the virus’ impact on children.
“There were more than 144,000 new cases of Covid-19 reported among children last week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said Monday. Over the last two weeks, there has been a 28% increase in child Covid-19 cases and children now account for more than 11% of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the US, according to the AAP. About 144,145 new cases among children 17 and under were reported from November 12 to 19, AAP said.”
When everyone is full and cozy after celebrating all day you know how hard it is to keep rambunctious, and snuggly kids away from Grandma’s famous hugs. With cases on the rise we need to be especially cautious and maybe do a virtual Thanksgiving with family members that don’t live in the house so we can see them safely next year.
Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor teaching at George Washington University School of Medicine, breaks it down honestly. “Look, the virus doesn’t care how much you love people. So let’s stay safe this year.” The following statistics hopefully make this point urgently clear.
“Nationwide, new COVID-19 hospitalizations are soaring at unprecedented rates — threatening reduced care for even those who don’t have coronavirus. At least 83,870 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Sunday — the 13th straight record-breaking day, according to the COVID Tracking Project. Many hospitals are at capacity, diverting patients, delaying surgeries and closing pediatric units for COVID-19 patients.”
I understand it’s been a difficult year feeling isolated from family and friends but if you want to have a real Thanksgiving blowout celebration next year with everybody, it’s best to stay home. For those 1 million Americans that already passed through terminals on Sunday according to the Transportation Security Administration, please exercise all mitigation techniques to protect your more vulnerable family members.
Those not in your house considered high-risk carriers such as returning college students, young children in school still, and essential workers should take extra precautions according to Erin Sauber-Schatz, leader of the CDC’s Community Intervention and Critical Population Task Force.
“People who have not been living in your household for the 14 days before you are celebrating should not be considered members of your household, and so you should take those extra precautions, even wearing masks within your own home.”
This holiday season don’t be sad you can’t gather like you used to. Instead take pride in the sacrifices all of your loved ones are making to ensure everyone stays safe, healthy, and happy for many more holiday celebrations in the future. Who knows maybe your creative approach to celebrating safely this year will birth a new family tradition.