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Letter: I didn’t join my family’s Thanksgiving — out of selfless fear

Pedestrians wear masks as they walk in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.
Pedestrians wear masks as they walk in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

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.

Ron Ralston

Kaysville