Covid Thanksgiving

As the majority of the country prepares to disregard, or at least, interpret conveniently, the warnings laid forth by our local political and scientific leaders and travel the country on Thanksgiving, our hospitals are nearly at capacity. There's another, longer-form, piece to be written about the toll this pandemic is taking on heroes like my wife, who is an overnight RN at the local hospital and is literally at her breaking point physically and mentally. I'll certainly write that piece at some point. For this, however I want to think about how, frankly but not surprisingly, I'm extremely disappointed Americans and their lack of ability to sacrifice for their neighbors.

This isn't about, but it's worth noting, the people dying in hospital waiting rooms because there are no beds, exploring how a hospital could run out of space in the morgue, analyzing intubated babies, and wondering how this all of this could happen in your own hometown of Beloit, WI. No, I'm preferring to analyze here how even some of the smartest people I know are refusing to heed the advice given to us by those studying their entire lives for this very virus in the name of family, holiday, and selfishness.

Look, I get it. I understand, I really do. Many have made a crazy amount of sacrifices and continue to do so. Some are planning on doing Thanksgiving safely. Masks, socially distanced dinners, and garage gatherings are just some ways that Thanksgiving is being altered by the virus. One million people traveled through airports last Friday alone. That number is only going to rise as we near closer to Thursday. Most, nearly all in fact, of those travelers are correct in their assumption that they're not going to die from Covid-19. Some, however, are incorrect. And therein lies the problem. There's a very small portion of Americans who believe this virus isn't real or who want to put their fate in the hands of a higher power. Whether rooted in selfishness or Darwinism, they only represent a small percentage. This isn't about them. There's a much larger percentage of people who are willing to do the right things in wearing a mask, sanitizing often, and social distancing. Those people are also getting Covid-19.

Many who test positive can't identify a place where they might have gotten it from. If it's impossible to identify where you were infected, it's certainly impossible to identify who you've infected. Most travelers will have a normal, happy Thanksgiving with their families. Maybe a short glimpse of normalcy will give Americans a reminder of what we should be thankful for. But for a tragic few, these gatherings will turn deadly. That isn't hyperbole but a sentence written with the support of data. Some have said, even before the gatherings, that being with loved ones outweighs the small risk of Covid transmission and the minuscule risk of severe symptoms. Maybe that's true for them, but you can thank people like my wife and her co-workers for being there to clean up after your selfish decisions. Just don't get mad if your loved one dies in the hallway. Happy Thanksgiving.

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