Alternatives Necessary for a Safe Holiday Season

A COVID Holiday

Ali Montee

A COVID Holiday

8 months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation is facing a new surge in cases. As of November 24, there are over 12 million reported cases in America. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are more than 260,000 COVID-19 deaths just in the US and this number is sharply rising.

I am anxiously waiting for a time when I’ll be able to go to the mall without wearing a mask, see my favorite artist in concert, or spend time with friends and extended family. I wish that we could all just have a normal day at school without logging onto Zoom. However, I realize that these things just aren’t possible while the pandemic is still raging on.

As the holiday season approaches, more and more people are gathering with loved ones for seasonal festivities. This has directly caused the surge in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths that our country is facing. We owe it to our community and people closest to us to social distance and avoid holiday gatherings, as risking lives just isn’t worth the risk.

As Contra Costa County returns to the stringent purple tier, more restrictions have been put in place by Governor Newsom, making the need for social distance more clear than ever. According to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s COVID-19 Risk Assessment Map, a person has a 33% chance of catching the virus while attending social gatherings in Contra Costa County. This alarming statistic reveals that the virus is rapidly spreading close to home and the necessary precautions must be taken.

This wave of new Covid cases has also put a tremendous burden on local healthcare workers. According to the Contra Costa Health Services, hospitalizations, ICU bed occupancy, and use of ventilators is at an all time high since the initial surge. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is also in high demand and its supply is dwindling. We all must realize that careless and unsafe actions, like gathering with other households, have contributed to the hardships facing doctors and nurses.

Although younger people are less likely to get severely sick from the virus, they are much more likely to spread Covid to older generations that are the most severely affected. It’s our duty to socially distance ourselves so that people that have been put in greater danger by this pandemic stay safe.

Thankfully there are alternatives to larger in person gatherings. Zoom or Facetime provides meaningful interaction without the worry of infecting others with Covid or contracting the virus. Families can also have a smaller celebration inside of their own household. I understand that these substitutes simply don’t compare to the type of in person gatherings that we are used to, but frankly there just aren’t any other safe alternatives.

2020 has been defined by the sacrifices made to keep ourselves safe from the virus. With the news of vaccines coming in 2021, we can’t give up now. I encourage everyone to keep up with precautions this holiday season, let’s stay safe now so that we can celebrate with the ones we love for years to come.