EDITORIAL: Give the gift of not spreading covid

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Categories: Editorial, Opinion

If you or a member of your family or a close relative or friend hasn’t had the coronavirus, consider yourself lucky.

And if you have had it and you’ve been lucky enough to have not been hospitalized or not to have seen a loved one suffer or die from it, you’re even more blessed.

So the question you should be asking yourself over the next two holiday weeks — Christmas and New Year’s — is how long you think your luck will last?

Many of those who didn’t heed the warnings not to gather in large numbers over Thanksgiving spun the cylinder of the covid gun one too many times and lost their game of Russian Roulette.

Three weeks after the holiday, those dire predictions of a spike in cases have proven as accurate as they could be.

Places like New York City, Los Angeles, Dallas, Phoenix, Miami and Houston – all major travel hubs – saw substantial increases in cases in the shadow of the holiday. Two weeks after Thanksgiving, deaths in the U.S. climbed to a seven-day average of over 2,200 per day, about equal to the peak seen in mid-April.

Now we have to contend not only with another wave of holiday travel, family gatherings and now last-minute holiday shopping, but there’s a new strain of the virus in the United Kingdom and South Africa that may be 70% more contagious than the original version of the disease.

That means when it hits our shores, and it will (if it hasn’t already), your chances of catching covid from this new strain will be close to double what they are from the existing strain.

Health officials are also concerned about this because it has nearly two dozen mutations, perhaps lessening the ability of the vaccines to target the virus and do the most good in preventing the spread.

Keep all this in mind as you’re finalizing your holiday plans. You don’t need to wait for the governor to threaten to send the cops to your house to act responsibly.

Older people are still most vulnerable to getting sicker and dying from this. There’s a new more contagious strain. The vaccine roll-out isn’t going as smoothly as anticipated. More people are carrying the virus right now and are showing no symptoms – so you don’t know who among your family and friends will potentially get you sick. And hospitals in many places are already overwhelmed.

Do you really want the legacy of this Christmas to be you or someone you know getting sick (or God forbid, dying) because you decided that in face of all this overwhelming evidence, you thought it was worth the risk of hosting a holiday gathering or going to a party? Is a few hours of gift-giving and eating worth the chance you’re taking? It’s not too late to modify your plans.

How long do you think your luck can last before it runs out?

Keep family gatherings to immediate family members or people who’ve been recently tested. Visit from a distance or by Zoom. Wear your masks and wash your hands.

We know we keep harping on this. But so many people still need to hear the message.

If you don’t care about yourself, then think about others.

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about, after all?

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