Medical professionals, amplified by the news media, have been vocal about their opposition to holiday gatherings this year. Who can blame them?
The pandemic is out of control.
The pandemic is out of control because Americans don’t want to do what is necessary, and they aren’t trained to think about systems and consequences.
I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. The reason it bears repeating is TGF and I are on day 15 of our pre-holiday quarantine.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and 2020 has taken so much that I decided a while ago I wasn’t willing to give it up. To figure out if Thanksgiving with MyMom, who is vulnerable due to age and due to a chronic lung condition, we did the math.
The CDC defines close contact as:
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
Based on these criteria and a deep, abiding desire to avoid having to plan my mother’s funeral for as long as possible, TGF and I made some assumptions:
- Eating together is high risk. It requires being unmasked, and I doubt my mother’s dining room table is more than 6ft long. Also, if the weather is normal for where I live I expect it to be about 50degF and rainy just in time for Thanksgiving dinner.
- I am the biggest risk vector. I have been going to in-person physical therapy for a shoulder injury. This requires some close contact with the therapist and distanced contact while inside a room with other people, who are also distanced.
- TGF is the next biggest risk vector. She has been going to the grocery store and running other errands, always masked, always doing her best to maintain that 6ft/2M worth of distance.
- MyMom has been exactly three places between February and today: Her doctor’s office (September), LabCorp (September), the dentist x 2 (no later than October 15th).
Because we are careful and all three have low exposures we made a choice to refrain from getting tested. After all, what better place to get exposed to COVID than a testing site?
The CDC also has guidance on how to quarantine if you are sick or think you may have been exposed to someone who is infected with SARS-Cov2 and is asymptomatic.
I have had no contact, not even masked or socially distanced, with anyone but TGF since November 4th.
TGF did a grocery shop in the middle of the day on November 10th, masked and as socially distanced as controllable, and has had no contact, not even masked and socially distanced, with anyone but me since that day.
Indeed, neither one of us has physically left the house in at least 10 days.
That means today is day 15 of a hard quarantine for both of us.
And while will be having Thanksgiving dinner and the usual events tomorrow, we’ll be doing all that with some precautions:
- Traveling with no exposure to other people (i.e., we are literally walking)
- Masks for TGF and me unless we are actually eating.
- Limiting contact between us and MyMom even while we are masked.
- Seating will be spread as far apart as possible while we are actually eating.
And, if course, MyMom has the absolutely right to decide she is not comfortable with any of this as late as when we open her front door.
Life inherently contains risk. The trick is to manage it smartly.