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Anyhow, Happy Thanksgiving 2020, Everyone!

Photography by Hannah Busing

According to reports, COVID-19 is raging, and all our shutdowns and mask-wearing seems to be in vain. Mission Hospital reported this week their highest number yet of patients with the virus, and with Governor Roy Cooper re-elected, another shutdown for North Carolina can’t be far away—but will it help?

To be honest, the John Hopkins link for COVID-19 cases that I once looked at every day just by typing a few letters into my browser address window, I had to Google—or GoGoDuck as I’m doing these days—to even find the site that became so familiar to me in the early days of COVID-19.  I guess even I’m COVID-weary as I haven’t been to the site in months. 

Worldwide there have been about 55 million cases of the virus so far, with global deaths at 1.3 million. To bring the statistics home, in North Carolina there have been about 312,000 cases with nearly 1,400 hospitalized, and the latest associated death total, as of the writing of this commentary, was a little over 4,800.

The United States has more cases than any other country, and what do we do about it? Mandatory facemasks? Lockdown until the vaccine is distributed? Mandatory vaccinations? Herd immunity? What’s the answer?

It seems like now almost every person I see in a store is wearing a mask. Heck, I even see people driving down the road alone in a car with their masks on. I’ve even heard of a mandatory order to wear masks inside people’s own homes. A mandatory nationwide order to wear masks anytime you’re outside seems draconian to me.

Reportedly, a vaccine that is 90% effective is nearing approval. Still, I hear that it has to have special refrigeration to manufacture for the public. That infrastructure is not in place currently, so it still could be months before those vaccinations are ready. When it is, should those be mandatory to every man, woman, and child? Some believe so, with others saying no way they’re taking the vaccine, mandatory or not.  

What about herd immunity? Many were holding up Sweden as a shining example of how herd immunity would take care of the problem. Sweden had only recorded 6,000 deaths from the virus.

However, a MSN.com article on Monday reads, “Sweden has U-turned on its herd immunity approach to the pandemic by introducing tighter lockdown restrictions, after health chiefs warned the country has failed to prepare for a second wave.

“Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven…announced new limitations on public gatherings to eight people across the country, down from a previous upper limit of 300.”

On Sunday, Sweden  “…recorded 5,990 confirmed Covid cases—its highest ever daily figure.” So much for herd immunity then?

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, many families are wondering just how to handle one of the most-traveled holidays. Bring the grandparents and high-risk members of the family in for the annual feast or cancel it for everyone else besides their immediate family and no more?

America has many questions this Thanksgiving before we can sit down to the traditional meal, and some of those answers might hold the difference between life and death. 

Anyhow—Happy Thanksgiving 2020, everyone!

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