Merry COVID Christmas 

John O’Meara

Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the country is faced with how to celebrate Christmas with mask mandates and social distancing as the new “normal.” 

In the past, my grandparents came over to my house for Christmas Day, and we opened presents. This year, my family will not be getting together with my grandparents or any elderly people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The greatest risk for severe illness from COVID-19 is among those aged 85 or older.” 

I believe that many people, especially the elderly, should not be getting together for the holidays this year. It has been proven that getting together in person does result in more COVID cases. 

The CDC explains “Celebrating virtually or with members of your own household, poses the lowest risk for spread.” The CDC goes on, “The more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.”

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has said that people should not be getting together this holiday season. He believes that the threat the virus poses will be no different by this Christmas.

According to NBC Chicago, Pritzker made no mistake about his stance: “Let me be blunt: the virus isn’t taking a holiday. It only wants to find new hosts.” He went on to say “There is no free pass in the season of giving [Thanksgiving] when it comes to COVID-19.”

Since Christmas is going to be different this year, many people will also not be traveling to visit relatives. Far fewer people are flying or driving this holiday season.

Sophomore Harrison Gianares’s Christmas will be completely different due to the cancellation of his travel plans. Gianares said, “A normal year, there is a lot of traveling involved. Normally going down to Florida.”

But this year, he will not be traveling and will not see nearly as many relatives as he usually sees.

I agree with Gianares’s family’s decision not to travel. Though most airplanes require passengers to wear masks, COVID can still spread very easily in the confines of an airplane. 

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, “social distancing is difficult on crowded flights, and you may have to sit near others (within 6 feet), sometimes for hours. This may increase your risk for exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19.”

Another person whose Christmas will be different is sophomore, Dylan Colbert. Colbert’s holiday will still go on, it will just not be celebrated the same way as it usually is.

“This year it will just be my immediate family in my own house, but we still might do FaceTimes and Zooms with some of my other relatives just to say hi,” says Colbert.

A family friend of mine, Michael Pilas, will not be having the same, normal holiday either. Pilas says he will still see family members, but there will be strict social distancing involved.

Pilas stated, “I’ll probably see as much of family, but with social distancing, and just being worried of someone getting sick will be in the atmosphere.”

Unlike Pilas, I will only be seeing my immediate family this Christmas. We believe that family should not be getting together and that people should decrease the spread of COVID-19.