COVID-19: The Uninvited Christmas Guest
If you are planning a big Christmas get-together you might want to consider the possibility of entertaining COVID-19 : The uninvited Christmas guest. We are now beginning to see the results of Thanksgiving gatherings, and it is becoming evident that groups of family and friends to celebrate the day may prove to be lethal. COVID is a “gift” that keeps on giving.
According to Healthline:
After Thanksgiving, the num ber of:
- New cases is up more than 20 percent from 2 weeks ago.
- Hospitalizations has increased by 21 percent.
- Deaths has jumped 39 percent, with the United States surpassing 3,000 deaths in 1 day for the first time.
This is not hype or scare tactics. This is an old-fashioned, retired R.N. telling you to get smart or you might get sick—or worse. You might die.
The Return of “Typhoid Mary”
When I was a nursing student, I heard the story of “Typhoid Mary” over and over. Mary Mallon was an Irish-born cook believed to have infected 53 people with typhoid fever. Three of them died. Mary was the first person identified in the United States as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. Because she persisted in working as a cook, by which she exposed others to the disease, she was twice forcibly quarantined by authorities. She died after a total of nearly three decades in isolation.
Are YOU “COVID-Mary” or “COVID-John”?
According to Healthline, Researchers found
- an estimated 20 percent of people with an infection with the new coronavirus remain symptom-free.
- Even people who are truly asymptomatic are able to spread the virus.
A Possible Scenario of COVID: THE UNINVITED GUEST
You went to a small party and had a great time. No one there was ill, and everyone was relaxed and having fun. What you didn’t know was that a friend had COVID but was asymptomatic. You contracted the disease from him but also have no symptoms. Even though you are contagious, you are not aware that you have it. You feel great!
Christmas is coming and the family is going to have a small Christmas celebration. Just family. You will be opening gifts and having dinner at Grandma’s house. Who will be there?
- Grandma and Grandpa —both in their 70s
- Your Mom and Dad—both in their mid 50s.
- You and your brother and sister— 14, 16, and you at 19.
When you arrive, Grandma gives you a big hug. She hasn’t seen you for a long time and you are her FIRST grandchild, which makes you very special. Grandma loves to hug. Grandpa greets you with a hug as well. After all, you are family. All of you seem to be healthy.
It was a fabulous Christmas. Wonderful gifts. Scrumptious dinner. A lot of storytelling and an abundance of laughter. The day could not have been better.
But. . .
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
A few weeks later, Grandma was not feeling well, and neither was Grandpa. They went to the doctor with fevers and difficulty breathing and—yes, they had COVID. It was a rough time. Despite the best medical care, Grandma died, and Grandpa is still in the hospital.
You are still asymptomatic, and no one knows how your grandparents contracted the virus. They were so careful. Both wore masks when they went out on those rare occasions. They faithfully observed social distancing and washed their hands as soon as they got home. They kept hand sanitizer in the car just in case.
And they only had family over for Christmas.
Do you get it? YOU are the person who carried the virus “over the river and through the woods” to Grandma’s house.
Just in case you don’t “get it” here’s a true story that happened early in the Pandemic:
In February, family members gathered for a Chicago-area funeral. A family friend who had been out of state attended and was just a bit sick with mild respiratory symptoms.
Before long, 16 people between the ages of 5 and 86 had been infected with the novel coronavirus (seven confirmed and nine probable), and three had died.
Do you really still believe this is a hoax?
How Dumb are you?
As of December 12:
Infections: Globally there are 69,521,294 confirmed cases. That’s more than the entire population of the U.K or France. That’s a lot of sick people.
Deaths: There have been 1,582,674 deaths worldwide. That’s more than the population of Philadelphia or Dallas proper (not the total metropolitan area).
And that’s not the end of it. The numbers are climbing. Look at the WHO graph and draw your own conclusions:
You Already Know What to Do
Let’s talk about masks
You don’t wear a mask most of the time because it is such a nuisance and “it probably doesn’t help anyway.” You have friends who think having to wear a mask infringes on their freedom and you don’t want to lose their friendship do you?
But you lost your grandma.
There are all kinds of masks available. There are medical-grade masks and masks that are fashionable, funny, plain, or whatever it is that suits you.
Get one. Wear it. You don’t have to do it for you, but do it for all those people you come in contact with. Do it for other people’s grandmas.
Statistics, they say, don’t lie. And statistics show us that after every large gathering where there were no masks and social distancing was not observed, there was an upsurge in infections. We’ve seen this after political rallies, riots and other gatherings that used no protection..
So keep your distance. If you must go out, stay at least six feet away from anyone else. That’s not easy, but it may be a matter of life and death.
Keep your meetings with friends outside if you can and do as much as you can online.
It seems like “cruel and unusual punishment” because we are, indeed, social creatures. But would you rather see your friends dead or alive?
Stay at home. Yes , we all get cabin fever but that’s better than the fever that comes with COVID. We are not playing games here. This is serious business. Do you want to have instant gratification and go out and about as if there is no problem or do you want to be around for years to come? Your choice.
Many still have to heave their homes to go to work. If you work, wear your mask. Do your best to keep your distance. Use hand sanitizer and wash your hands often.
If you work to make life better for the rest of us, THANK YOU. Be safe. Stay well.
If at all possible, the week before Christmas, get tested. Then you have some small assurance that you will not be taking COVID with you to Christmas dinner.
But if you can, STAY HOME.
Lives may literally depend on it.
Don’t let COVID become the uninvited guest to you house for Christmas.