Friday 27 November 2020

Day 256 of self-isolation - Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory

In America, the 26th was Thanksgiving, a time when American families traditionally get together indoors in large numbers to eat turkey, drink, and be happy together. An excellent tradition. But not appropriate in 2020.

Travel is heaviest at Thanksgiving. Today, travel was 90% as heavy as last year. People are gathering from all parts of America to meet, eat, hug and swap viruses.  It's like one big pox party, happening at a time when the number of new infections per day in America is higher than ever. 

There's nothing to be done about that. Americans are like lemmings; they follow the leader blindly off a cliff, and no-one can understand why.

Christmas is coming. In America, I'm guessing they'll gather again, egged on by Donald Trump, ignoring the warnings of the CDC and the doctors. Christmas will be four weeks after Thanksgiving, it will be like a wave starting from the high point left by the Thanksgiving wave. America has surrendered to the virus, and not even the vaccine will save them, because most of them will refuse to take it.

But I had hoped that the British fighting spirit was undimmed. We're in the second wave now, and we did a one month lockdown, which has had a good effect. The number of cases has peaked, it seems, and although death numbers will continue to be horrible for the next few weeks, at least the number of new cases each day has stopped rising.

And then our oven-ready government announced that from 23 to 27 December, restrictions will be eased for Christmas.

First, let's think for a moment about the unfairness of this. A Christian festival has been given the go-ahead, but the Hindu, Islamic or Jewish festivals got no similar easement.

Next, let's think about the effect of this. Has our world-beating government negotiated a Christmas Truce with the virus? Will we be singing Christmas carols in chorus with the virus? Will there be a friendly game of football, NHS vs Covid?

I don't think the virus will be taking Christmas off. I think the virus will enjoy Christmas; the close gathering of families, all unmasked (because you can't mask while you're eating). The gatherings of worshippers in stuffy churches. The shopping frenzy. If a virus could devise a way to infect lots of people, it would invent Christmas.

And yet, and yet. We've been running this gruelling marathon since March, and we're in sight of victory. We have three powerful vaccines about to be rolled out, we can see the finishing line. Now is not a time to lie down and let the virus roll over us.

My Christmas will be a roast turkey dinner, eaten in company with a large family gathering - over Zoom. This Christmas will be virtual. 

Next Christmas will be EPIC


  1. Not sure where you got info on the US and large gatherings. I'm sure not everyone followed the recommendations but I'd say most did. In fact everyone I know had small gatherings with folks in their very immediate family. Normally we'd have a large gathering but it was just my wife and I. My wife's brother and sister each had their immediate family only in their respective homes. My brother had just his wife and kids and my other brother was with his girlfriend and her parents. On Facebook I saw post after post about small immediate family dinners and nothing larger. So maybe your info isn't accurate or my world of family and friends were all exceptions.

    1. I'm glad you did the right thing. I'm also concerned about Christmas and what will happen in the UK.