Clues as to how novel coronavirus infection rates may increase after Thanksgiving can be seen in what occurred among our friends north of the border.
“Case counts in much of Canada are climbing, even in parts of the country that imposed new autumn restrictions. Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, and both provincial and federal officials have pointed to the holiday as a culprit in the spike,” the Washington Post reported Oct. 27. “Before the holiday, officials advised Canadians to curtail their plans by limiting celebrations to those living under the same roof or moving the party online. But it is not clear how widely the advice was heeded. … Canadian officials are now dealing with the aftermath of the holiday. Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Deena Hinshaw, [recently] said … that the Thanksgiving-related cases showed how the virus can exploit human interaction.”
U.S. officials fear the same will happen across the country following next week’s holiday. They have urged people to follow safety protocols and avoid large gatherings, but many Americans aren’t inclined to listen to them.
“You will see a tremendous spike after Thanksgiving — that’s my personal theory,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said during a news briefing Wednesday, according to a story published Thursday in the Watertown Daily Times. “If you don’t have a real fear about COVID, you’re going to come together. It’s going to happen because it’s human behavior.
“Your family sounds safe, doesn’t it? Your home sounds safe,” Mr. Cuomo said. “Our dining room table at Thanksgiving sounds safe. ... No, you won’t be safe. It’s an illusion. My sister loves me. My sister could infect me — not maliciously, but accidentally. … What I thought was the safest place and the safest situation in my home at my table with my family ... that’s a dangerous situation.”
The governor signed an executive order nearly two weeks ago limiting social gatherings at homes to no more than 10 people. But whether many New Yorkers will follow this directive is unknown.
We don’t believe it’s appropriate for Mr. Cuomo to try to control the number of people allowed to congregate in someone’s home. There has to be some limit to how far his executive orders infiltrate our personal lives.
However, New Yorkers should take the advice of health care officials to heart. They urge people to stay home this year and celebrate Thanksgiving only with members of their immediate families.
The number of coronavirus cases has sharply risen all over the nation including here in the north country. New York has the third lowest rate on infection in the United States, which is good news. But this statistic is increasing as a result of people becoming careless.
Don’t join crowds. Wear masks. Wash your hands frequently. Stay at least 6 feet away from others. Disinfect surfaces.
The sensible rules that have guided Americans during this pandemic must be followed even when holiday tradition calls for fellowship. If we use our heads and play it safe, we’ll truly have something to be thankful for in the months ahead.