UNITED STATES: With the Thanksgiving holiday fast approaching, many officials and doctors worry about yet another spike in COVID-19 cases. After Halloween on 31 October, the country saw an increase in cases that has been attributed to celebrating the holiday without protective masks or social distancing. New York State has instituted a 10pm curfew due to the national and state increase and Governor Andrew Cuomo has said it is imperative that home gatherings are limited to ten people. Other states such as South Dakota are seeing a record number of cases each day and yet Governor Kristi Noem says the state is handling COVID-19 well.
Residents across US react to spike in COVID-19
In an interview with Transcontinental Times, Chandra Harris, a college student in South Dakota, said, “Covid isn’t as scary here as it used to be. A lot of people also just don’t care.” She was not even aware that the state was actually doing far worse as it is ranked second worst in the country (after North Dakota) for per capita rates, with over 9,000 new cases in the past week. She continued, “ Pretty much everything is open. Most places just require masks and have shorter hours.”
Debate over COVID-19 restrictions continues
People across the country are divided over the handling of COVID-19. Some claim that having to wear a mask is infringing on their rights while others see closures and curfews as too mild.
A 35 year old resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, said in an interview, “The governor has recently pulled back some of the recent liberties for lack of a better word, due to the increase in covid cases and hospitalizations. We are Bible Belt people so there is a very strong division between whether people should live in fear by wearing masks and distancing or if they should listen to the government recommendations.” North Carolina has seen 18,000 new cases in the past seven days that follow the state’s steady increase and as a Trump-winning state, there are many residents who believe the President’s reassurances and downplaying of the virus.
New York has faced more regulation to minimize the spread of COVID-19 than many other states but Marie, a healthcare administrator with two immuno-compromized adults living with her, said in an interview, “I feel the restrictions are just right. I don’t think we are being asked to do anything too outrageous…I understand that being asked to wear a mask is not what we are used to but the way I see it, if that simple act can save a life, I don’t mind at all…We have to think of those who may not do well if they catch this virus and just like I may bring a meal to a homeless person I see on the street as a way to help another human, I will wear my mask with the same intention.”
Upcoming holidays and the spread of COVID-19
Thanksgiving is a national holiday that often involves extended family traveling across the country to share an extravagant meal together. However, this year government and health officials are pushing for the cancelation of any Thanksgiving get-togethers outside of your household. They are offering instead to host virtual dinners or send meals to one another. Many states have travel restrictions in place and mandatory 14-day quarantines for those traveling to or from other states.
In addition to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is often a mad rush to stores for annual deals on everything from socks to laptops. Some stores have been stressing their online or curbside pickup options while others have started Black Friday deals weeks early so as to prevent large crowds.
COVID-19 has altered many aspects of daily life in the past year and with upcoming holidays, there will likely be a shift seen there as well. Following Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Christmas and New Years are often big celebrations across the country as well. No one knows how it will turn out yet but with more people contracting COVID-19 daily, the health and safety of the populous is at risk.