Please don't get together for Thanksgiving
This is a post I sent to my family after learning they plan to meet in person for Thanksgiving 2020
I love you all and I hope you'll read this to the end.
I've heard that you're all planning to get together for Thanksgiving.
I don't think that most of the family has been taking Covid-19 safety seriously. Where “seriously” means always following the health guidelines from the doctors and public health professionals.
None of us, nor the people we see in person (or read on the internet), is more knowledgeable or experienced than the legion of health professionals who are all warning us of a clear and present danger due to Covid-19.
What should I be doing to keep myself and others safe?
Here's some info from Maricopa County (Board of Supervisors is 4 republicans and 1 democrat):
“Wear a cloth face covering when in public places. People can spread COVID-19 before they show symptoms, or even if they show no symptoms at all. Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others.”
The State of AZ (also Republican governor and majority republican in both state legislative houses):
The Federal Government (Republican president and majority-controlled Senate). From CDC (run by a Trump appointee):
Who's at the highest risk?
From (republican-controlled) Maricopa County: Sufferers of COPD and Type-2 Diabetes.
Both <redacted> and <redacted> are in the highest risk category.
Now is an especially bad time to meet
Arizona's intensive care unit beds [ICU] are running low (currently 90% full) and researchers from ASU predict the system in AZ may be overwhelmed in the next few weeks:
Specific reasons that I am concerned
<redacted> attends (often several) church meetings per week, indoors (with some amount of distancing?) without wearing a mask. She mentioned that the thinks the other people at church would “give her a look” if she wore a mask, which makes me doubt how seriously the other members of the congregation are taking Covid-19 safety.
<redacted> has mentioned that he has trouble breathing in his mask (understandable w/ COPD). So far as I am aware continues, he continues to shoot pool (weekly?) without a mask. Last we talked, other people at the pool hall also do not wear masks.
Common arguments against safety:
Lots of people die from the flu
This is true. You should get a flu shot. Two things can both be bad/dangerous at once. There are some differences according to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:
”... at present, it [covid-19 death rate] is thought to be substantially higher (possibly 10 times or more) than that of most strains of the flu. 290,000 to 650,000 people die of flu-related causes every year worldwide...There have been approximately 1,390,003 [covid-19] deaths reported worldwide.”
The (republican-controlled) CDC estimates that 34,000 Americans died of Flu in 2018-2019 season, and 22,000 so far for the 2019-2020 season... and 255,958 have died from Covid-19 so far this season.
There are dramatically more Covid-19 deaths even though there were 3x as many estimated cases of the Flu (36mil got the flu in 2018-2019, 12mil so far for Covid-19).
Many folks thought that “Covid would go away once the election was over”. Well it hasn't. It's ramping up again into a “third wave” of cases which “We know now that the third wave will be worse than the second, which was far worse than the first”.
All the government sources I listed above are Republican-controlled. Furthermore, Europe, China, Iran, Canada and the UK (super USA best friends, frenemies and enemies) have also had significant outbreaks and significant numbers of deaths. The politics in all these other countries has basically nothing to do with politics in the US.
All the doctors, public health workers, governments worldwide are saying the same thing: “Covid-19 is serious. It's killing a lot of people and you should avoid gatherings and wear masks”.
It infringes on my freedom [to wear masks, gather, ...]
We give up freedom to protect ourselves and others everyday:
- We have traffic laws that infringe on your freedom to speed, drive recklessly, &c to reduce traffic fatalities.
- We have gun laws (can't shoot targets in your backyard or hunt inside city limits) to reduce gun accidents.
- We don't allow people the freedom to hurt other people (e.g. homicide, assault)
Unlike the above freedoms which are restricted by law, wearing a mask an limiting contact doesn't have anything to do with the government at all. It's a recommended, personal choice to protect yourself, your family and community.
It's not weak or unpatriotic to care about and prioritize the safety of yourselves and your family/community. On the contrary, it's brave to weather a few sideways glances from an uninformed people for the chance of saving a life.
The other side of freedom is not taking away freedom from others. If you take risks, then expose others to the consequences of those risks without informing them of the potential danger... doesn't this take away their freedom to make informed choices about their own health and safety?
I don't know anyone affected by it
I don't know personally anyone killed on 9/11, probably you don't either. 9/11 is a big deal. Covid-19 has killed the equivalent to 128 9/11s worth of Americans and it's not over yet.
I would know if I had it. I feel fine.
It's likely that you'll feel fine when you give Covid-19 to someone else, or that they'll feel fine when they give it to you.
The bottom line
I think you should cancel the in-person Thanksgiving and redouble your effort to protect yourselves in the future.
The vaccine should be widely available in a few months time and protecting each other now means you can have more get-togethers in the future. There are still phone and video chat options that I can help you set up.
If you won't postpone the get-together until it's safe, please consider doing the following:
- Wear masks and keep your distance from each other
- If you decide to share a meal or take off your masks for some other reason, please do so outside and keep your distance.
- Although it's already too late for Thanksgiving, avoid contact with others, especially un-masked, indoor contacts until the event.
I support your right to live your life in the manner of your choosing. I hope you'll take some time to think seriously about the potential consequences of your actions.
You will feel terrible of you (unknowingly) spread it to someone you care about (<redacted>, <redacted>, <redacted>, <redacted>, <redacted>, church friends, pool friends). If someone dies you will always and forever wonder if it was your fault, if you gave it to them. If one of you dies, then I and your niece, nephew, grandchildren will be crushed.
Postscript: Other stories from a variety of sources
“Then one day I was walking up the stairs, and all of the sudden, I couldn’t breathe. I screamed and fell flat on my face.”. This is the one I mentioned on the phone yesterday, <redacted>.
33yo. healthy, famous and wealthy, Fox News says: “coronavirus viciously attacked his body”. Lots of friends asking for prayers.
17yo. Devout Christian. w/ autoimmune disease, dead. Another story about her said she got sick after a church gathering where no one was wearing masks.