COVID-19 Opinion

A Very COVID-19 Thanksgiving

Image courtesy of Rebecca Elliott.

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If you’re a Saggitarius, cancel your birthday bash. Did you plan a 2020 New Year’s party? Looks like it’s going to be on Zoom.

For San Diego County, and many counties in California, purple tier restrictions began again on Saturday, Nov. 11. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently updated their guidance on social gatherings. Being that the purple tier is the most restrictive color-coded section for the coronavirus, social gatherings will be limited this holiday season. 

According to the CDPH’s website, their guidance recommends limiting attendance at any social gathering, and that the gathering must be outside.

This means if your Thanksgiving or Christmas parties include more people than just the members of your household, it looks like everyone needs to BYO coat and lawn chair. 

That might seem like a tall order on rainy days in California, or if it snows in your neck of the woods, but this new guidance is not something to ignore. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated their website on Nov. 19, reporting that there were 1 million new COVID-19 cases just in the past week. That is 1 million more people who have gotten sick, and, most likely, have gotten others sick. 

Symptomatic or asymptomatic, one person who is sick can easily start a chain reaction, in turn getting their friend sick, who gets their mom sick, who gets their grandpa sick. And not everyone comes out of this disease with just a loss of taste. 

I recently participated in the Flex Farmer’s Market and sold jewelry at a table next to the live band for hours. Wearing a mask already muffles your speech sometimes, but talking to people with a mask on while someone is blasting “Hero” by the Foo Fighters? Not an easy task. As much as my voice hurt, as much as I wanted to pull my mask down to clarify what I said, I didn’t. Aside from drinking water, I kept my mask on the entire time. Why? Because I wanted everyone to be safe. It was risky enough to hold a school event, so protecting others by wearing a mask is the simplest and most caring way we get through this pandemic together. 

The new guidance from the CDPH also said wearing a mask when gathering anywhere is mandatory, and the removal of it is limited to actively eating and drinking. I know that you have heard this before, but it is so crucial. 

The CDC’s “Considerations for Wearing Masks” states, “masks are a simple barrier to prevent your respiratory droplets from reaching others.” By wearing a mask, you protect others from COVID-19. Why wouldn’t you want to protect others? And, by extension, why wouldn’t you want others to protect you? 

I’m heading home soon to spend the holidays with my family. I currently live with my parents and my grandmother, who is 88 years old. My grandmother also has severe asthma. When I think about what would happen if I got sick, I don’t think about my chances of surviving. I think about my grandmother’s chances of surviving. I think about my parents and my sister and her babies. 

What happens if we don’t follow the guidance? We are choosing to be flippant about something that can change a person’s life and change their family’s lives. If we don’t follow the guidance, we ignore the respect and dignity that others around us deserve. We are choosing to prolong the misery we have already endured for months.

Written By: Melanie Coffman