Surviving the Holidays, 2020 Edition
Plans for expressing love and gratitude that mitigate risk
Consider the last 8+ months with SARS-COV-2 as a particularly nasty punch. The recent spike in cases and hospitalizations has reportedly been fueled by small gatherings. So how are we going to respond, including during the holidays?
Ideas that promote failure:
- Pretending we didn’t get hit, despite losing teeth (lives and livelihoods)
- Deciding that since we got hit before, it’s futile to try to defend ourselves
- Blaming the judges (statisticians) for scoring that reflects being pummeled
- Seeking help from competent medical (and epidemiological) professionals
- Applying a variety of proven or promising available strategies
- Using evasive maneuvers to avoid more direct hits
- Donning impact-reducing protective gear
Side note: If learning from failure is partisan, those who can’t need to be voted out. Their enablers ideally stick to conspiracy circle jerks on Parler. Back in fact-based reality there’s work to do to save or improve lives and economies.
GOAL: Show holiday love and gratitude without endangering friends and family
This is a challenge. It likely means breaking certain cherished traditions. For instance, Anthony Fauci’s daughters won’t spend this Thanksgiving with their parents, who are in a high-risk age group. That sucks. Failing to take steps that can save hundreds of thousands of lives sucks far worse. Our COVID statistics indicate repeated failure in this regard.
A lot of people are tired or lonely. Many are grieving the loss of loved ones or opportunities to celebrate or grieve with others in close proximity. And holiday gatherings can offer warmth and companionship. We can acknowledge that and respect our feelings. But showing our love during a pandemic means being creative and disciplined so as not to compound tragedy by giving our feelings primacy.
Putting lives first means taking steps to mitigate transmission risk. And engaging in risky behavior warrants extra precautions. That’s why Nascar uses roll cages. A new CDC guide has a variety of ideas for the holidays, including:
- Spending time with people already in your household
- Limiting inhibition-lowering drug and alcohol intake
- Wearing face masks, washing hands, and physically distancing (as usual)
- Preparing and consuming food with minimal close or shared contact points (e.g., outside with pre-packaged portions)
- Maximizing air flow by staying outside or keeping windows open
Rising to meet challenges is never comfortable, but we’ve done it before. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren went to the moon and back. It’s our turn to apply can-do ingenuity using warm jackets, food containers, fire pits, PPE, and Zoom. Smaller and reduced-risk gatherings now make it more possible to have larger ones down the road by preventing more losses.
With apologies for making a metaphor Jello salad, the pandemic forecast is for flurries. Instead of ourselves acting like snowflakes, let’s block, duck, and do what’s needed to survive this round.