Ignoring government guidelines on Thanksgiving is irresponsible

Annika Schmidt

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Thanksgiving is designed to celebrate blessings and gratitude among family over a generous feast. Historically, the day before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year; millions of  Americans travel around the country to visit family and friends for the holiday each year.  

     This year, Thanksgiving will inevitably look different, from emptier airports across America to less highway traffic and even a smaller gathering at your dining room table. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to plague the nation and the “second wave” of cases is in full swing.  

     Case numbers on campus and in the state of Colorado have risen significantly this month, and we cannot be ignorant of this. It can only be expected that an increase in casualties will follow. 

     The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has published three steps to follow on Thanksgiving this year: 

  • Only interact in-person with people from your household (defined as those who normally live and sleep under the same roof). 
  • Refrain from travelling. Celebrate virtually with the people who do not live with you. 
  • Wear a mask and keep your distance while grocery shopping for your Thanksgiving feast. Plan ahead and limit to one trip. 

     The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published similar measures to be followed nationwide.  

     By limiting interaction to our own households, we can prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Thanksgiving is a holiday for everyone in our families, including older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions — and we know by now that they are at risk for the most severe and deadly cases of COVID-19.  

     Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, this doesn’t apply to me because I’m not sick and no one in my family is sick.” If this is you, you are outstandingly foolish. We know that asymptomatic carriers, people with the virus who haven’t started showing symptoms yet and false negative tests all contribute heavily to the spread of COVID-19. 

     In order to protect our loved ones, let’s utilize any of the many technological communication opportunities we are fortunate enough to have access to in this day and age. We’ve been working, going to school and interacting with family and friends virtually since the pandemic exploded in March, so one additional day (even if it is a holiday) will not hurt.  

     As difficult as it may be, let’s also avoid travelling — anywhere — on Thursday. If your family is travelling for Thanksgiving, you are entitled to make your own choice about your own safety. Even if you’re invited to an annual family Thanksgiving across town, opt out of travelling past your front door completely. 

     Slowing the spread of the virus and flattening this second curve starts with you and your family at home. Each decision you make personally plays a part in the bigger picture. And trust me, this is all super frustrating. The entire year of 2020 has ripped the metaphorical carpet out from under my feet (and I’m sure many others feel the same way). Now I can’t even enjoy a normal holiday with my loved ones, but I will be staying home on Thursday for every reason I’ve outlined in this article, and then some. 

     Take a moment to think about next year. Do you want to be wearing a mask, social distancing and attending online classes throughout the whole of 2021? I don’t. It could ultimately come to that but complying with safety guidelines now could ease restrictions and enable normalcy sooner rather than later.  

     Inevitably, people are going to ignore the direction of the CDC and local governments this week and further spread the virus; people are going to die this holiday season if we do not exercise serious caution. Do not let this be you or your loved ones. Stay home and stay safe. 

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