Thanksgiving is normally a holiday of relief — relief from the intensity of Fall work activities, relief from the Fall semester of school, and a respite in the intense time between Labor Day and the end of year holidays.
This year, Thanksgiving is perverted into one of the most stressful times of 2020. Coronavirus infections are significantly higher than at most times in the past few months (as many expected they would be as temperatures dropped). Hospitals in many sections of the country are seeing increased activity that, even if it does not fill all the beds, stresses caregivers who have already had six months of crises. Unfortunately, the prior 2020 holidays, including Memorial Day, Labor Day, and Halloween, have all resulted in significant increases in COVID-19.
Things seem ominous.
But insanely, I am an optimist. First and foremost, we have vaccines which will end the pandemic. This is the greatest thing for which we can give thanks. We have better care protocols that save more people from dying. Steroids help against the virus, and maybe so do remdesivir and (monoclonal) antibodies. There is hope.
At a time when we are so close to getting through this pandemic, it is important to do everything possible to suppress COVID-19 until the vaccines get distributed. From all reports people are traveling, so let’s not argue about that. Please social distance and wear masks all the time while you are out. Travel safe has added meaning this year!
Go for long, outside walks rather than sitting in one room watching the tube. Eat dinner in separate rooms, some folks on porches or under patio heaters. Don’t crowd into stores on Friday, and don’t hit the bars this weekend (a major drinking time according to the beverage industry). Enjoy the togetherness without the necessity of being physically together.
Don’t put elderly, susceptible relatives at risk even if it means they eat separately from everyone else. They will be the ones who will wind up ill in hospitals, which is sadly all the more ironic since they will be some of the first to get the vaccines.
The fewer people infected during Thanksgiving the better shape our society will be in going into the December holidays and New Year’s Eve (let’s not start that discussion yet!). By the first quarter of next year, vaccinations will be going full-scale with at risk people first in line. When we get to April, things are going to be remarkably better.
This is really the inflection point. Let’s get through Thanksgiving and everything will be downhill. For that we can really be thankful!