By Edward Chen
While the preliminary results of promising vaccine trials have been announced, it is still important to remain mindful of the coronavirus. Coronavirus cases are on the rise and this month is on track to be the worst yet in terms of new cases. The US has had over 11.5 million cases and has recently passed over a quarter of a million deaths. More than 1 million cases have been reported in the last 7 days alone. The coronavirus is still active and is not leaving anytime soon.
Even when a vaccine does arrive, public health efforts, which include wearing masks and distancing, may still be necessary. Gallup announced on November 17 that 58% of US adults would agree to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and 42% would not, which indicates “significant challenges ahead … in achieving mass public compliance with vaccine recommendations.” Think about it: Over 1 in 3 Americans would not get a COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to uncertainties about vaccine uptake, vaccine distribution will also present a significant challenge that still needs to be overcome. The logistics involved with distributing millions of vaccine doses are immense. Though there is hope that the pandemic will end, it is too early to stop protecting yourself—it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Many of us, including members of Students vs. Pandemics, will want to spend this Thanksgiving with our family. However, it is safest to avoid travel and stay at home with those we live with. Celebrating virtually with other family members is safer than attending an in-person gathering. The CDC lists other ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, including hosting a virtual dinner, watching television, playing games, and shopping online. Writing down and sharing things we are grateful for is another way to celebrate the meaning and purpose of Thanksgiving in a safe way. When meeting in-person, outdoor events that promote wearing masks, physical distancing, and washing hands are safer than indoor ones.
So, wash your hands, maintain safe distancing, and wear a mask!
~ The Students vs. Pandemics team
Edward Chen is a master's student studying immunology. He's also the national president of Students vs. Pandemics. @EdwrdChen