About a month ago, my family made plans for Thanksgiving.
For the first time in far too long, all of us were looking forward to hanging out for a long weekend: myself, my brother and his husband, my son and his sweetheart, and Dad and his significant other.
This would have been Dad’s first time hosting a family holiday in Washington since moving here from Virginia last spring. It also would have been the first time I’d seen my son since I visited him in Southern California last February.
We’d share in the cooking, eating and cleanup of a grand feast; play our favorite board and card games; walk around the local birding areas; and basically delight in being a bevy of Bryants. It’s what we do … when we can.
But, as COVID numbers began to surge this month, we started to rethink our gathering. And the night before Gov. Jay Inslee announced new restrictions to try to re-flatten the curve, we held a FaceTime confab.
As much as we all wanted (even needed) it to happen, we made the adult decision not to go through with our Thanksgiving plans.
We Bryants have all been doing our best to wear face masks and observe physical distancing on the rare occasions when we do leave home. My son, who works in a hospital, is even more fanatical about safety protocols than the rest of us.
But my dad and his SO are both in their 70s, and he’s a lifelong smoker. If one of us inadvertently infected them, we’d never forgive ourselves. It just seemed too great a risk to have my boys walk through one of the world’s busiest airports (LAX), fly to Seattle and walk through yet another large airport — then go straight to Dad’s place.
So, we’ll all stay home for Thanksgiving to protect our elders — and others.
I don’t blame Inslee for this, by the way. His order wouldn’t have become necessary if more people had voluntarily done the right thing to curb the spread of this virus.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it until I no longer have to: COVID-19 is not a political issue. It is a public health issue that requires us all to work together as a community.
It’s not that difficult: Wash your hands often. Maintain physical distance among people from outside your household. Wear a mask in public. Yet a significant percentage of the population refuses to make the effort, for various reasons.
Think the virus is a hoax? Acknowledge its existence, but think it’s no more dangerous than a seasonal flu? Stipulate the danger, but still think you and yours are invincible? Wrongo, Bongo (as Dad would say). Politicians may lie, but science doesn’t. And I’m talking about actual peer-reviewed science conducted by experts (Dr. Anthony Fauci, for example) — not the half-assed quasi-medical opinions you find on Facebook and YouTube.
The U.S. has lost a quarter-million people to this virus in the past nine months, and that total is increasing every day. If we’d all unite as Americans and do what’s needed, we could keep this thing at bay until a vaccine becomes widely available.
If we don’t, we’re going to lose a lot more people before this is over.
Some of them might even matter to you.
Kat Bryant is lifestyle editor of The Daily World and editor of Washington Coast Magazine. Instead of a homemade feast, she’ll be ordering Thanksgiving dinner from a local restaurant. Reach her at [email protected] or on Facebook.