As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m reflecting on what I’m thankful for during this very unusual and difficult year.
I am thankful for all of our essential workers who keep our communities running during this time.
I’m also thankful for all of you — the members of our community — for hanging in there through the very challenging events of the past 8 months. Thank you for social distancing, for postponing weddings and birthdays, for staying home, for cancelling plans, and for everything else you’ve done to slow the spread of COVID-19. All of your efforts matter — you’ve helped protect our community.
We have challenges ahead; there is no denying that. As Thanksgiving approaches, we all want to gather with people outside our household. We also all know that gathering with people outside of our own households — especially indoors — could put ourselves and others at risk of infection and contribute to the spread of COVID-19.
You’ve heard this many times, but I want to encourage everyone, if you can: stay home and celebrate Thanksgiving with people in your own household. If you decide to see others for the holiday, please be careful about testing, quarantining, masking, and social distancing, in addition to maximizing time outside. There is no 100% safe way to see others, but there are ways to reduce risk.
To be clear, this isn’t about judging others or casting aspersions on those who choose to gather. No one is perfect, myself included. All of us want to see our friends and loved ones. All of us are hurting this year, some much more than others. We all want this to be over. And we all make choices about the risks we are willing to tolerate. But, please do everything you can to reduce that risk so that we can protect our healthcare system and save lives.
I know that this is incredibly painful — it certainly is for me. I haven’t seen my elderly parents, my sister, or my nephews in person since the beginning of COVID-19. It’s a struggle, and FaceTime and Zoom just aren’t the same. I’m also bummed out not to be spending Thanksgiving with my close friends, as we do almost every year.
But I also know that hope lies just ahead of us and that there’s a light — one that becomes brighter and brighter — at the end of the tunnel. We have an incoming President and Vice President who take the virus incredibly seriously. And we have what appear to be three highly effective vaccine candidates moving through the FDA’s emergency authorization process. Frontline healthcare workers could begin receiving the vaccine as soon as mid-December, just a few weeks from now.
We’re moving toward a better future, where we can hug our family and friends, share many meals together, meet our friends for a drink, dance until the next morning, and explore the beauty of life without fear. We’re not quite there yet, but I have faith that we will hang on just a little longer until it’s safe again. We will get through this pandemic together. We’ve already made it this far. Let’s keep up the fight.
We got this.