Be thankful for your health


Larry Koester on Creative Commons

Many Americans will be celebrating this Thanksgiving with empty chairs at the dinner table.

We’ve all seen the news. COVID-19 isn’t going away or getting better. It’s getting worse.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, 45 states have reported a 10% increase in cases, bringing the national total to more than 10.9 million cases and 245,600 deaths. I know we’re all looking forward to going home and being with our families for the holidays, but it’s critical to your and your family’s safety that COVID-19 safety precautions are put in place.

I, for example, will only be celebrating Thanksgiving with three other people: my mother, my father and my aunt. While my mom normally plans a big, elaborate Thanksgiving with many guests, we are keeping it simple this year. I strongly recommend you do the same.

I’m not saying you have to be completely alone, as we have learned many ways to adapt to isolation. Whether you practice social distancing or host a Thanksgiving Zoom call, you can still keep in contact with the people you care about.

As we approach our first Thanksgiving during the pandemic, I think we can all agree that our health is what we should be the most thankful for, and we should be doing everything in our power to keep each other safe. Far, far too many people have died from this disease and it’s more than likely you know someone who either contracted it or has died from it.

To paraphrase President-elect Joe Biden, many of us will be attending Thanksgiving dinner with empty chairs made vacant by COVID-19. We need to get the numbers in the right direction, and the only way that can happen is if everybody does their part to keep themselves and others safe.

This Thanksgiving, if someone asks you what you’re thankful for, don’t just tell them — show them. Show them by wearing a mask. Show them by social distancing. Show them by keeping the number of people in your home at a time very small, especially on holidays. Most importantly, show them that you care not just about your health and safety, but other people’s health and safety as well.

We can’t predict the future, but if we don’t turn things around soon, we’re going to have even more empty chairs next Thanksgiving.