Opinion

STAFF EDITORIAL: This Thanksgiving, Prioritize People’s Lives

Zack Miller | The Phoenix

With the holiday season around the corner, it’s vital to understand the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and act accordingly when it comes to Thanksgiving gatherings.

Despite efforts from Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, the COVID-19 situation has been getting increasingly worse locally. It’s estimated 1 in 15 Chicagoans have infectious COVID-19, Chicago Department of Public Health doctors said in a press conference Nov. 17.

The situation is much worse than the initial outbreak in March and April. Many of our friends and relatives have recently tested positive for the virus.

Loyola’s coronavirus dashboard shows 167 people have tested positive through the Wellness Center. 

Despite weekly testing and other measures in place to limit exposure and potential spread of the virus, the “majority” of Loyola’s men’s basketball team has tested positive for COVID-19, derailing the start of the season and putting much of the athletics department out of commission. Loyola’s athletics department has more resources at its disposal than most people, but it still wasn’t enough to prevent an outbreak. 

COVID-19 is getting closer to home for many people, and gatherings in the next few weeks could cause significant damage to the current public health situation. Thanksgiving is typically a time to relax with family before gearing up for finals week. But this year, having large gatherings with extended family could pose dire consequences.

People at risk are counting on you to keep gatherings virtual or very small.

COVID-19 cases across the U.S. have been trending upward for more than a month and skyrocketed following Halloween parties and gatherings — which showed how selfish some Americans really are.

With more than 250,000 deaths reported in the U.S. alone, many people have lost a friend or a loved one to COVID-19. 

Chicago and its residents are fighting an increasingly losing battle, but this problem is far from unique to Rogers Park and the other neighborhoods in the Windy City. 

The holiday season brings about a lot of non-essential travel and contact between people which isn’t good from a COVID-19 standpoint. For many, the pandemic has been a reminder of the importance of family — but with a situation this grim, risking lives to make your usual Thanksgiving happen isn’t worth the risk.

A virtual gathering this year could mean your grandma’s famous pie next year. An in-person dinner with her this Thanksgiving could put her life to chance.

Think long and hard about what really matters.

While everyone is struggling with “COVID fatigue” during the holidays, it’s important to not lose sight of the bigger picture. 

As Chicagoans, Americans and above all human beings, we implore you to make smart choices these next few weeks and not put countless lives at risk.

Wear a mask everywhere — yes, that includes walks around the block. Continue to socially distance yourself from others. Try to avoid hosting guests in your home this holiday season.  

These measures are unfortunate, but they’re temporary. Remember that.

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