Northwest Missourian Opinion

We’ve already had a heck of a year with everything that’s been going on in our world lately. A virus no one could have predicted, save for President-elect Joe Biden, brought this country to its knees on its own. The entire country of Australia spent much of the first half of 2020 ablaze. Basketball great Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a heartbreaking helicopter crash.

Our current president was quickly impeached by the House of Representatives, only to be acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate months later. Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was convicted of sexual assault, citing an important victory for the #MeToo movement. A presidential election that narrowed down to a couple of undesirables has left the United States more divided and partisan than any other time in our recent history, probably since the Civil War. 

See, problem is, all of that and a lot more has already dealt blow after blow to the human populace, and it’s only November. With Old Man Winter knocking on the door, I’m left fearing what this impending season of cabin fever, eternal darkness and brutal cold has in store for us.

I’m sure you’ve seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise uncontrollably no matter where you reside in the country. Back home in Omaha, Nebraska, for instance, Douglas County’s positivity rate has risen to an astounding 32.5% as of this writing. Granted, this next wave of the pandemic is clearly a nationwide thing, but it seems to be hitting the Midwest and Plains states harder than other areas of the country. As the weather turns colder and the days get shorter, people are naturally going to want to stay inside. Think about it. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Listen, I know the holidays are fast approaching. After the rollercoaster we’ve been riding, some sense of normal life is all most people need — that is, we’re probably all wishing we could get together at the dinner table for a hearty Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. I hate to say it, but we both know this is going to be different, too. Your best bet, per CDC guidance, is to only celebrate with those in your immediate family unit. 

Obviously, gatherings that are larger in size and involve more households increase your risk of possible COVID-19 exposure. If you still plan to hit the road and see extended family or a few of your closest friends — note that I said “a few”— keep your safety and that of others in mind. Mask up if you need to. At the very least, social distance needs to be adequately maintained. Hold your feast and festivities outdoors if the weather cooperates to further aid in mitigation.

Back to the Oval Office — remember when President Trump said he wouldn’t commit to a peaceful transition of power come Jan. 20? God only knows what this coming inauguration will look like, let alone if our current leader lets anything happen without some sort of controversy, rally, lawsuit or call into Fox & Friends. No matter which side of the aisle you tend to be on, I think we can both agree that attributing the title “sore loser” to our 45th president is nothing but a pitiful understatement.

December, January and February are typically the coldest months of the year. We all agree on that. There’s something else we need to agree on: staying safe and healthy this winter. No matter how you celebrate the holidays or who you celebrate them with, your health and that of those you love and care for should always be your number one priority. Now, more than ever, your life is more than likely hanging in the balance.

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