Don’t travel this Thanksgiving.
Don’t visit your loved ones and friends.
Don’t invite a bustling bunch over to your home for a festive feast. Stay home, with those you live with, and stay safe.
These should be the basic instructions for everyone this holiday season. There’s no way to have a safe Thanksgiving dinner with people who don’t live with you every day. The coronavirus is too widespread in communities across the United States, and as more people gather indoors for extended periods, the risk of spreading the virus even further skyrockets.
We understand that this runs counter to all of our instincts as human beings. We want to gather close to the people we love and treasure. We want to share our space and the food we prepare. Especially in a difficult year like this one, we want to comfort ourselves and others.
But these very human, very understandable desires are exactly what puts us at risk.
The basics about transmission of COVID-19 are as follows. It’s a virus that is largely spread through respiratory droplets, the kind that you expel whenever you speak or sneeze or cough. It transmits more easily when people are inside buildings for lengthy periods of time and don’t have their noses and mouths covered. The closer those people are together and the more of them there are, the wider the spread.
That’s it. That’s the whole ballgame. Any kind of event that brings people together indoors, without masks, for a whole afternoon or evening, will put those same people at risk.
And this Thanksgiving, a holiday that often includes older relatives, is an especially risky one in the age of coronavirus. The elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions have a greater change of facing severe cases of the virus. We simply can’t expose them to danger because we want to celebrate.
We have two excellent vaccines on the way. Early reports suggest that both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines are more than 90% effective against the virus. The shots will begin rolling out on a limited basis by the end of this year. In the first quarter to the first half of next year, the vaccines could be available to most Americans.
So for goodness sake, wait. Stay safe this Thanksgiving, even if that means being isolated. It will be worth it.