Health and the Holidays

In a typical holiday season family would gather from all over and get together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It would be a time when all your parents, brothers, sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and kids are together and enjoy each other’s company. It would also be also a time when the worst thing you have to be concerned about is eating too much and taking a nap in front of the television while the football game is on. Unfortunately, 2020 has put holiday plans on hold for many people and is forcing changes in how others celebrate this holiday season.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have been infected and over a quarter of a million citizens of the United States have died. The virus has spread to all the states and presently some states are experiencing a lack of available hospital beds to treat patients. This has prompted the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to issue warnings on how people should celebrate this holiday season. According to a November 2020 statement, the CDC has recommended that people should not travel during the holiday. Also, they are recommending that gatherings should be limited to members of the household only. These will be a few of the ways that the spread of the virus will be limited.

While the suggestions of the CDC are valid, in all likelihood many people will not follow them. You will still see airports packed with travelers, highways jammed with autos going to a holiday destination, and buses and trains packed. All of these will probably become super spreader events and lead to increases in COVID-19 infection rates. In turn, it will lead to more hospitalizations and more deaths.

Because of the recent spike in cases around the world, this has given our family cause for concern. In our family we have people that are elderly and have medical issues which puts them in the high-risk category if they get the virus. The last thing I want is to be responsible for having a gathering which passes the virus on to them. If they get the virus and something happens to them, I would never be able to forgive myself. In addition, if someone in my family did get the virus and even if they recover, medical experts are not sure if they will have any effects of the virus in the future!

So, for this holiday season we are taking some precautions to keep everyone safe. We have reduced the number of people that will be attending my Thanksgiving dinner. Instead of having twenty family members from various parts of the country, I will limit the number to eight family members who live locally. In addition, we will be making sure that we space out people around the dinner table and in the house. With only eight people we should be able to accomplish this easily.

Since we will be spending time sitting around watching parades, football, dog shows or whatever else is on, I am going to suggest that everyone wears a mask. To make it fun, I will make personalized masks with names and designs. I also will have several bottles of hand-wash around the home so that people can make sure that they wash their hands. Hopefully, these steps will help keep everyone safe this Thanksgiving.

Because we are limiting the number of people in our house, we have a plan to include some others. I am coordinating my dinner with my sister. We plan on eating at the same time and set our laptops so that we can share our dinners via zoom. While we won’t be in the same room, this will be the next best thing.

This year has been extremely trying and frustrating to everyone, and we will try to make the best of a bad situation. We will get through this and look forward to what will hopefully be a more normal 2021. Stay safe!

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