happy holidays - Man with mask and holiday presents

Happy holidays! Live long and prosper!

Happy holidays! We wish you joy and happiness as 2020 ends – and we hope for a better year in 2021.

Choose to live longer

I hope that, a year from now, future you will be grateful to present you. “Thanks for being farsighted and wise enough to make the right decisions so we could survive the pandemic,” future you will say.

To make this possible, care for yourself. So you can take care of others.

Only you can give this gift

This year, only you can give yourself the best gift – the ability to celebrate future holidays with your loved ones, by following pandemic protocols during holidays.

Do whatever it takes to keep yourself and loved ones healthy. No matter how hard it is, resist the urge to take on unnecessary risks during the pandemic. Why?

Zoom call for holidays
Zoom helps households stay safe as we celebrate the holidays.

Because humans have behaved in consistent ways during pandemics over the centuries, history shows. Even today, humans unfortunately are repeating certain behaviors:

  • At first, people deny the pandemic is real – until they get sick, see a dead body or lose someone close.
  • When a pandemic is recognized, people try to find someone to blame. They name the pandemic after a neighboring country, blame people who spread the disease and even blame disease victims.
  • Quack doctors and nonexperts arise, spreading false facts and bad information.
  • Con artists prey on people by creating shortages, hoarding, and raising prices.
  • Disinformation, misinformation and mixed messages lead to fear and confusion about what to do in a pandemic, which causes more deaths.
  • With or without modern medicine, pandemics eventually end.
  • When a pandemic recedes, society and culture sometimes re-blossom. The Black Death led to the Renaissance, and the 1918 flu pandemic led to the Roaring Twenties.

We’re lucky that in this pandemic, scientists brilliantly created effective vaccines in only 11 months, faster than ever before. Yet the challenges that lie ahead are many:

  • How to effectively distribute the vaccine when healthcare professionals are overwhelmed?
  • How to stop the spread of disinformation about vaccines? Today only 58% of Americans say they’ll want to get a vaccine. But to put the pandemic behind us in 2021 and return to some kind of normalcy, the U.S. will need 75% to 80% of people vaccinated, notes Anthony Fauci.
  • How to track who’s been vaccinated, who’s not?

Listen deeply to yourself

During these, perhaps the darkest days of the pandemic, listen to yourself – and how you feel in body, heart, and soul.

What lifts you up? Do more of it.

People are listening to and making music, exercising, reading, cooking, baking, Zooming and phoning old friends, because it gives them satisfaction.

If you feel emotionally distressed, you’re not alone. If that feeling lingers, reach out for help right away by calling the suicide prevention lifeline at 800-273-8355.

Individual decisions create our future

Even though vaccines are in early distribution, the pandemic is far from over.

Thousands of Americans are dying of COVID-19 every day – invisibly, sadly out of sight. About 300,000 Americans have died in 9 months, as many as died in combat during the 4 years of World War II.

Another 200,000 are forecast to die by Spring 2021 – unless Americans change our pandemic behaviors.

If each of us makes good decisions and takes personal responsibility, fewer will die. When we wear a mask, keep social distance, wash hands, avoid large gatherings, and stay at home inside our household bubbles, fewer people die.

The U.S. healthcare system is already at a breaking point, so every good decision you make helps not only you but also every other American who needs healthcare.

The pandemic is clearly overwhelming U.S. hospitals, doctors, and nurses. I’m sad to see that our healers are not getting the support they need and deserve from individuals, communities, or the government. Nor are our front-line workers.

Even if you don’t get to see your family, children, grandchildren, and loved ones this holiday, make the right choices. Take a long-term view. Good decisions now will help you, your loved ones and family, and others survive to celebrate holidays for years to come.

Happy Holidays

P.S. If you lost a loved one to COVID-19 (as we lost my mother-in-law Carla Osgood), we mourn with you. Our friends and family who are fighting COVID-19 are in our thoughts.