While the days of 2020 all seem to blur together as Covid-19 continues to plague us, this Tuesday, November 17, was an anniversary mostly gone unmentioned. One year ago on this date, the first Covid case was diagnosed in China. A year later, we are facing some staggering numbers.
1.3 million deaths worldwide. 11.2 million positive test results. Over 247,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, the highest reported count of any country in the world. All of the numbers show us in the throes of the worst wave we’ve seen yet. A year later, we are still dealing with this pandemic, and if we haven’t caught the virus, we are fighting virus fatigue.
Everyone is “over it.” Across the globe, people are taking their fights to the streets to protest lockdowns, business closures, and other government-imposed restrictions. Yet, people are aware of what needs to be done to slow the spread: Wear a mask. Socially distance. Avoid large crowds. We are doing it, but we’re very, very tired of it.
In the past week, we’ve been given a glimmer of hope, though. Two large pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer and Moderna, have produced vaccines with 90% and 95% effectiveness, respectively. Approximately 160 volunteers are participating in trials at this time, and it is predicted that by spring, the vaccines will be available to the general public.
Until then, we are being told to sit tight. Continue to follow the guidelines. Avoid seeing extended family over the holidays. That last directive is a hard pill to swallow.
For some of us, we have aging parents and family members we haven’t seen in a year. While our brain logically says that it makes sense to forego seeing them a few more months until we are all vaccinated, our hearts struggle with the logic. What if this is the last Thanksgiving I will have with my sister, who is never able to travel over the holidays but got this one exception? What if this is the last opportunity to see my adult kids all together at my house for Christmas before they tell me they have other obligations? And how can I leave my mom alone in her house in Florida, on her very first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my dad?
We all have our own stories just like this. At the same time, we hear stories every day about people who have lost a loved one to this virus. They no longer have the choice about seeing that person over the holidays. And that is a thought that stops me dead in my tracks and makes me question my decision to forge ahead with my family over the holidays.
I don’t know what the right answer is. Do we stay at home, avoid everyone who doesn’t live in our house, and wait? Or do we take precautions and see the people we love, because without them, we’re just not living?
What are your thoughts? Please share your comments as we all struggle to do the right thing in a world that really needs that right now.