(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the con,
No anime stirring, no art was drawn;
COVID-19 hung over everyone there,
We dared not stir–too deadly to share; 
Our people were nestled in costumes they made,
Disappointed pandemic had squashed what they played.

This December

I was going to write out an entire poem like this called “A Visit From Totoro” about COVID avoidance tips for the holidays. But then I read a headline about the Yankee Candle company being bombarded with negative reviews because people are claiming their candles have no scent, and I just couldn’t do the poem thing, anymore. (Loss of the sense of smell is an early sign of COVID-19.)

Look, I know the holidays demand a certain kind of attention and energy. I know people expect that holiday gatherings should happen. That the whole gift-giving and food-sharing thing is a matter of strict tradition. And while I know that a lot of families out there played it safe, it seems clear that a lot of them did not. We should all find this frightening and saddening. 

Holiday Gatherings and You

I find the following sentences going through my brain: 

  • This stuff can kill you. (I’m only saying “stuff” because my editor didn’t like the other word I used.) 
  • If this stuff doesn’t kill you, it will damage your organs. 
  • If you are still somehow functional, this stuff can still take out the people you love, or leave them with life-long problems. 

These are not guesses. And you, the reader, probably know all this already. But what you may not know is sources are now speculating that one out of every thirty Americans will contract COVID-19 before this thing is over–even as a vaccine may loom on the horizon. So please take a minute and muscle up the fortitude that we, as Americans, can muster to defeat this enemy–this tiny little monster that is doing a good job of killing our loved ones. 

COVID Safety During The Holidays

The CDC issued a lot of valuable information and guidelines about holiday gatherings prior to Thanksgiving, and have continued to revise their recommendations with what we’ve learned since then. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Lower your exposure risk before attending (and tell your loved ones to do so as well!).
  • Be careful about your exposure during transit.
  • Adjust your in-person plans. For example: everyone bring their own food, hold gatherings outside around a bonfire.
  • Reduce the number of people you invite.
  • Don’t include people that are at high risk for complications, like the elderly and those with chronic respiratory issues.
  • Follow distancing and sanitation procedures during the events: lots of hand washing, masks, and sitting far apart, for example.
  • Quarantine after, not just before, so that if you are exposed during the holiday, the exposure risk to others stops with you.
  • Consider an alternative to gathering in person, like having a virtual gathering, or postponing until the Spring.
  • Get your flu vaccine! Get it now. Do not pass GO. 
This December

CDC will be saying a whole lot more of the same for gatherings people are planning throughout December. You can see their whole list of recommendations here. It’s worth the read. With a little sacrifice, we can put a huge dent in this thing. The best course of action is still to stay home. Postpone these gatherings for a better day. As they say: a virtual gathering in December avoids a funeral in January.

As always, UsagiMed is here to help.  Whether you’re an individual wrestling with pandemic blues or a con that is wrestling with decisions on your next event, don’t hesitate to drop us a line, even if it’s just to say HI.  We miss you, and can’t wait to see you when it’s safe to do so.