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OUR VIEW: Cases are rising, so be careful

It’s hard to sum up the Christmas season in one song — and we all have our favorites — but those familiar tunes have a little bit of a different feel this year, don’t they?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” is still an apt description of the Christmas season, but according to COVID-19 guidelines there should not be no “parties for hosting” or “caroling out in the snow,” at least not in a closely confined pack.

Even if the pandemic hasn’t impacted your life one iota, it’s unique celebrating our most joyous time in the midst of this crises. And even though we all want to see our loved ones, we encourage you to do it carefully.

On Thanksgiving Day, Troup County’s seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases was 8.6. On Dec. 20, it was 27.4, and unfortunately those numbers aren’t trending downward. The proof is in the numbers.

We realize some will note the extremely low death rate — which is a good thing — or mention that this will be gone after the election (wait the election is over, right?), but both of those statements ignore a larger point.

The purpose in masks and social distancing isn’t only to prevent spread, although that’s a pretty good reason. It’s also to stop our hospital systems from becoming completely overwhelmed, running out of beds and ventilators.

There are ways to prevent the spread without completely wiping out your holiday season, but if you are gathering with grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and siblings under one rough this holiday season, you are taking a risk.

It’s much easier — and much less risky — to do small gatherings throughout the week than to bring every family member over for a huge party.

Your preparation should start before going to any kind of family gathering. That means taking all preventative measures possible in the days leading up to Christmas, such as wearing a mask, washing hands, practicing social distancing, etc.

Then, once at any kind of gathering — hopefully a small one — you should keep practicing social distancing. You should also wear a mask, though we’re guessing most will not in their homes. Wash your hands often.

Virtual gatherings are the safest way to still see family members this season. It cuts out the need to travel through airports or to crowd in one room.

We know family is what the holidays are all about, but this is the world in 2020.

Hopefully, it won’t be the world in 2021 and things will be back to normal. But for now, we’ve got to adjust our plans and celebrate the holiday the safest way possible.

We hope you’ll take some precautions so that we don’t see another post-holiday spike in Troup County.