New year’s eve!
It’s that time of the year again, new year’s eve. It’s been one hell of a year, even for the awful last few years. I have a lot of thoughts this year given that we are living in a pandemic and new year’s eve is usually a time for celebration. I doubt anyone will listen, but stay home.
This is the perfect storm of timing. We had several weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the two largely celebrated holidays. That was enough time for people who got COVID from Thanksgiving to skip the Christmas festivities. That isn’t the case this time around, in fact the timing from Christmas to new years is perfect for COVID spread.
Asymptomatic carriers can spread the infection, we know this and we know that’s why COVID this time is so bad. Oh right, you’ve probably forgotten, we’ve seen this virus before, or rather its cousin. Back in 2003 we had SARS-CoV-1, a coronavirus like the one we are dealing with now. There was widespread concern that the scenario that we find ourselves in right now, a unchecked pandemic, could occur with that virus. Thankfully we were lucky it was a test and one we failed.
SARS-CoV-1 isn’t too much different from SARS-CoV-2 also known as COVID-19. The main difference between the two and the reason why we didn’t have a pandemic in 2003 was that symptoms came on quickly, in just a few days. We were able to easily contain it and keep it from spreading because if you caught it you knew almost right away. Unfortunately COVID-19 has a up to ~2 week incubation period where it can spread from someone who is asymptomatic. That is the difference and that is why COVID-19 is a pandemic whereas SARS-CoV-1 was not.
Ironically when we didn’t have a pandemic from SARS-CoV-1 people said we were overreacting and I can’t help but think that it’s better to overreact than under react. I can imagine the roughly 350,000 people who’ve died from COVID-19 would agree. Given the transmissibility of COVID-19 and the new mutation which increases transmissibility, we should’ve overreacted. We could’ve saved countless lives and the millions who will suffer long term, possibly lifelong health problems due to the COVID-19 infection. Instead we did nothing and that’s why we need everyone to do the right thing themselves by staying home.
The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas (ignoring other holidays in that timeframe) was long enough that if you were infected because you were being unsafe (see: a selfish asshole), you would know. However, the time between Christmas and New year’s eve is perfect from the virus’s standpoint because it’s long enough that you will be contagious, but short enough that you probably won’t be showing symptoms. In short, things are going to get very bad, very quickly.
The future is notoriously hard to predict, but this isn’t a prediction. We know that there has been record breaking holiday travel this year even with COVID. It’s safe for me to assume that this trend of people ignoring the pandemic will continue and we will see very large unmasked gatherings for new years. Which leads me to the worst part of this prediction. We’re already dealing with the fallout from Thanksgiving, hospitals are starting to hit maximum capacity (if they haven’t already) and that means we’re about to be rationing healthcare.
Here’s the real frustrating part, I’ve already got my first dose of vaccine. I’m safe, I’m very thankful, and frankly I’m very lucky that I can work with minimal human interaction. In short, I am only writing this because I care about people in the general sense. I don’t want to see people needlessly suffer and die because others are too selfish to stay the fuck home during a pandemic. We’ve almost hit 4000 deaths in a single day. A FUCKING DAY! Even the 7 day average is close to 3000 deaths a day and it’s only going to get worse now because of the holidays and now New year’s eve celebrations.
I’m tired people. I don’t know what to say or do to convince people that 3000 deaths on average a day is not a good thing and we collectively have the power to stop it, but it takes all of us to do it. This year just stay home, please?