Christmas is just three weeks away, and again we are handed decisions we must make about how, and with whom, we will spend the holidays.
At least those of us who still are concerned about another COVID Christmas.
It was easier last Christmas, when there wasn’t a vaccine yet and many people still wore masks and followed either voluntary or mandated social distancing. The decision to spend time apart was painful, but important. No one wanted to be the one who infected and killed Grandma or Grandpa.
But when the new year rolled around, and vaccines were offered to more people, a collective sigh of relief could be heard around the globe.
It was premature.
States and businesses started dropping their mandates and many threw their masks aside and embraced sporting events, concerts, parties and social events.
And COVID lingered.
People made the decision not to get vaccinated – whether it was because of religious, medical or political reasons. And the COVID virus chuckled, and formed new strains and visited more homes and work places.
So it surged, just in time for school to start and cold weather to force much of the country indoors. And people, who were tired of wearing masks and tired of missing their friends and families, threw caution to the wind and took their chances that they would not catch the virus, and if they did, that they would be just fine.
But viruses don’t work that way. They wiggle into the nooks and crannies of your health system and find your weak spots. The same virus in a family of four treats everyone differently – even healthy people can get very, very sick.
And – here is the rub – it can even infect vaccinated people and make them very sick.
The fact that vaccinated people can still be infected seems to bring gleeful support to the anti-vaxers’ theory that vaccines are unnecessary. But vaccinated people, in most cases, do not get as sick, do not end up in the hospital and do not die. I say in most cases, because I’m sure someone knows her friend’s cousin’s husband, who was vaccinated and died. While those against vaccines will think this is proof of their position, it actually is proof that we still should be wearing masks and social distancing in large gatherings.
But we aren’t.
Our hospitals are full of very sick COVID patients. ICUs, ERs, standard rooms are filled to capacity. You really don’t want to go to a hospital for anything right now and while some people can hold off on a medical procedure or surgery, others aren’t as fortunate.
Since the COVID pandemic began, I still wear a mask when I go grocery shopping or get gas. There have been times when I have been the only person in the grocery store that I see wearing a mask. There are more people wearing them now than this summer, but I still get stares sometimes, like I am some sort of weirdo.
Maybe I am. I’m OK with that. I’m not sick and I haven’t spread the virus to anyone else. Weird, isn’t it?
Since this summer, at least 20 people I know personally have come down with COVID. Some said it was not too bad, some said it was the worst illness they ever experienced. At least two of them died.
I am not willing to take that chance. This Christmas and this holiday season, I really don’t want anyone in my house who is not vaccinated. Period. I don’t want to take the chance that I or my husband get COVID, and I don’t want to put my three vaccine shots to the test.
I will not argue with anyone anymore about the pros and cons of getting vaccinated, since I have finally realized that you can’t win that discussion. People who want to get vaccinated will and those who don’t, won’t.
So if you decide to spend your Christmas the same way you did before we even heard about COVID, I wish you all happiness, love and joy this holiday season.
I will spend a quiet Christmas Eve with a very small group of vaccinated family members and hold another outdoor Christmas celebration with those who are not.