I was criticized for not gathering for a large Thanksgiving dinner with extended family. One family member had this quick retort, when I said I wasn’t coming: “It’s not a pandemic. … It’s the flu and I am grateful for people who don’t live their lives in fear.”
In the 24 hours leading up to Thanksgiving Day, 2,313 people in the U.S. died of COVID-19. That’s 2,313 people who, up until today, were planning on spending Thanksgiving with their families — 2,313 people who will never spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones again.
I do not live in fear of getting COVID-19. I live in fear of unknowingly giving it to someone else — someone like my friend who has an immunocompromised child, who, if it passed to her, could die. I live in fear of unknowingly giving it to someone I work with who has a child with a heart condition, who, if it passed to her, could die. I live in fear of people, unwilling to bear the inconvenience of wearing a mask, giving it through me to my 80-year-old, diabetic father-in-law, who could die if he got it.
I think spending one Thanksgiving apart is worth the many future Thanksgivings we will get to spend together with people who didn’t die because we were inconvenienced.