Opinions & Observations- Matter of Fact: A time for thanks


It is that time of year when people reflect on all they are thankful for, but 2020, with all its challenges, has made that exercise a challenge in itself. This certainly has been a year unlike any other in our lifetimes.

Here in the United States, the coronavirus has led to hundreds of thousands of excess deaths, millions becoming sick, and tens of millions out of work. Some have lost far more than others, but we have all faced difficulties. I know that I am thankful for the friends and family who have helped me feel better during these trying times, even when we cannot see each other in person, and for the teachers and school administrators who have kept educating my kids, even when they are unable to be in the same room.

I am thankful that my immediate circle of family has remained healthy through the pandemic, while my thoughts are with those who have had to deal firsthand with the cruel realities of this virus. For so many, they will be spend this week looking back on past Thanksgivings, thinking about who will never join them at their table again, wishing they had the opportunity to tell a loved one that they will not be able to see them this holiday season so that they can be together in future years.

The restrictions we are living under are difficult and during the holiday season it has become much more evident how much we are all missing. But being tired of the sacrifice is not a reason to risk the health of yourself and others. My most fervent wish this week is that next year, each of us is able to share how we are more thankful than ever, having gotten through this pandemic.

Unfortunately, many will have large gatherings this Thanksgiving that bring members of multiple households together under one roof to eat a meal around the same table. This is not something that is unique to people of just one party affiliation, though it has been clear which elected leaders have encouraged this behavior. Here in New York City, there have been multiple Republican legislators who have promoted the flouting of public health guidelines meant to protect us all, while the outgoing president has continually downplayed COVID-19 and spread misinformation about it.

Thankfully, as the certification of election results in Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania this past week extinguished any chances that President Trump’s frivolous lawsuits and political schemes could lead to him seizing a second term against the will of the people, we moved closer to a federal response to the pandemic which will be based on science and executed competently. Just as President Obama or President Bush would have addressed this pandemic far better than the current administration, a President Biden will have a tremendous impact on mitigating the effects and having us come out the other side quicker and in better shape.

Vaccines are getting closer to becoming a reality. We have all sacrificed for the better part of a year. Now is not the time to let up when there is daylight up ahead. Sadly, this holiday season has the potential to spur exponential spread of the virus. We have recently reached a point where we have recorded 200,000 new cases and 2,000 new deaths in a single 24-hour period. Family gatherings the next five weeks could lead to those numbers multiplying, right as vaccines become ready for distribution to the public.

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