As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, we all must remember: the pandemic is not over just because we're over it.
We all want to spend time with our loved ones right now but we need to make sure everyone stays safe. You don’t have to feel ashamed because you don’t want to go to the Thanksgiving dinner. Staying safe and healthy is far more important than eating stuffing, and it's foolish to even think your whole family could practice social distancing in Grandma’s living room.
Unfortunately, everyone has at least one person in their family negligent enough to put the entire family in danger. Don't let them make you feel bad for deciding to stay home this year when celebrating together is a health risk.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), an increase in small gatherings has caused a surge in new COVID-19 cases. Right now, there are about 200,000 new cases reported in the U.S. each day — over twice as many as there were when the "second wave" peaked this summer following mass Fourth of July celebrations.
We need to learn from our past. People need to realize that just because people are your family members does not mean they are safe to be around.
I have already decided that I will not be attending Thanksgiving dinner.
However, if you do decide to gather for Thanksgiving dinner, you need to take the necessary steps to stay safe. That means getting tested first to make sure you do not expose anyone and keeping your mask on even when you're around family.
If you are sick, or if you've been in contact with someone who is, you should stay home. It only takes one guest carrying the virus to put the entire family at risk.
In a year of turbulence and change, we all need to be thinking of different ways to congregate. Looking for an alternative to traditional holiday gatherings? A "drive-by" celebration might just be it. This way, family members can meet somewhere briefly and pick up their plates so they can celebrate individually instead of together in one home.
Everyone just wants a break with their family. Unfortunately, you are not safe from the coronavirus because you are with cousins and grandparents.
Think about the potential consequences of gathering with your family this year. Putting your loved ones at risk is not worth it. I would much rather see my family safe and healthy for later functions than put them at risk now.
Tamia Southall is a 19-year-old mass communication sophomore from New Orleans.