One of the most festive aspects of the holiday season for most Americans is the traditional celebratory parties that take place. Whether one is reuniting with distant family or meeting new faces, these social events are great ways to spread holiday cheer when anticipating Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays. However, it is safe to say that these elaborate parties are not practical for our current circumstances, as 2020 has already changed almost everything else in our daily lives. To scale down holiday gatherings, one should limit social gatherings to just their immediate family. To communicate with distant friends and family, utilizing modern platforms such as Zoom, Google Meet, and other brilliant technologies can provide intimate moments that are hard to come by due to quarantine. Forget preparing the house and practicing your conversation skills; the only thing you will need for this holiday season’s get-togethers is a fully-charged device and a decent internet connection. This is the safest way to still have a memorable holiday in these times. According to the CDC, the most COVID-19 cases come from small indoor family gatherings and from restaurants; another study shows how one out of ten people at a social gathering is prone to get infected by the virus. Ultimately, the only sure way to protect oneself from the virus is abstaining from in-person gatherings and, instead, switching to a virtual medium.
Another way to scale social gatherings down is by using the outdoors. In the outdoors, there is a much lower chance of catching the virus. If one is hosting an outside event, make sure that everyone is spaced out, according to family. Wearing masks, staying six feet apart, and only taking them off to eat are ways to minimize both the spread and intake of the virus.
Unfortunately, it seems that many families have chosen the risk of eating inside and are willing to face the severe consequences. According to statistics regarding air travel on Wednesday, November 25th, 1.1 million people were screened by TSA (the highest number of people traveling by air since March 16). Several RHS teachers also noted a lack of students present in each class the day before Thanksgiving break. Why may this be? There were most likely a larger number of students traveling to meet with their family, choosing to spend time with loved ones despite the perilous repercussions.
Although teenagers are one of the least-affected age groups of the coronavirus, there is no reason to disobey the safety regulations put in place. The virus can easily be passed to the older generations, which are known for their vulnerability to disease. This holiday season, one should choose who they socialize with wisely, as it could likely be a literal life-or-death situation.
Graphic: Jiah Lee