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Make wise choices in holidays amid pandemic

The year 2020 has brought with it many challenges, not the least of which have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic that began in March.

In the early days of the pandemic, most people took it seriously and adhered to the COVID-19 protocols of social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing, etc.

After a few months, however, people grew weary of those restrictions, businesses reopened, people began to get out more and now as the cooler temperatures have set in and people are moving inside the COVID-19 infection numbers are going back up.

I am not immune and I’ve certainly let my guard down a few times in recent weeks and months, but the latest rise in numbers have made me rededicate myself to the cause.

The numbers are straining hospitals throughout the nation and the spike in cases, locally, statewide and nationwide, are just in time for the impending Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Each family and individual will have to weigh the threat of the potential spread of COVID-19 in deciding whether to hold or to attend holiday and family gatherings.

Likewise, for better or worse, many community traditions will go on, including a Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 and a Christmas parade at 6 p.m. Dec. 5 in Natchez.

Organizers are encouraging mask-wearing and social distancing and that is well and good but is no guarantee against possibly catching COVID-19 and worst of all possibly passing it off unknowingly to others you could come into contact with without knowing you are infected.

Certainly if you do go to such events you would be wise to follow those protocols. People should think twice before attending such events, however, particularly if they have preexisting conditions that could make them more vulnerable to the effects of COVID-19, and especially if they are in a household with others who may have such conditions.

While promising vaccines are on the horizon, they are not yet available and may not be available for several more months.

Therefore, our best bet for surviving the COVID-19 pandemic is by not getting it and the best way not to get it is to follow the protocols of social distancing, not gathering in large groups, wearing a mask when social distancing is not possible, not touching our faces and washing your hands.

We have seen too many people die from the pandemic already and the numbers will continue to go up for the next few months, experts say.

As the holidays approach, please think twice about the risks and take the proper precautions so you or your loved ones won’t end up being one of the statistics.

Wearing a mask and staying out of crowds and away from distant friends and family members will be difficult, especially during the holidays, but the results may well be worth it.

Take care.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.

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