November 29, 2020

Black Friday

Black Friday doesn’t really mean the same thing to me this year. Generally it has meant the day that small businesses break even for the year. Their accounting books go from red to black from increased shopping the day after Thanksgiving. Now it is also day of super deals and excess shopping. However, this year Black Friday is the day that South Dakota joined New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Mississippi and North Dakota, the states in which 1 out of a 1,000 citizens have died due to COVID-19. Astonishing, shocking, and regrettable.

And the forecast is not looking better. The CDC has compiled different models and the results are stark. Increasing cases and deaths are forecast. The week ending Dec. 19th, between 1.1 million and 2.4 million cases are expected. Even more stark are the prediction of deaths of 294,000 to 321,000 predicted by December 19. Fauci and others predict “surge after surge”. They say it doesn’t have to be as bad as predicted if people self-quarantine after travel, follow distancing guidelines, and wear masks. These methods work. Many people will follow them, but we also know that many people won’t.

The rest of us need to double down on our preventive habits and not become lax the next month. Vaccines are coming, but not soon enough to help us through these surges. The healthcare force is tiring, hospitals will become full. The situation is distressing and exacerbated by false beliefs that COVID-19 is fake news.

The situation is also complicated by the testing situation which can give misleading results. I know many providers who had patients with negative tests but the patients had all the symptoms. Some tested positive later. Other times there can be a false positive test which alarms and confuses. This article in the Seattle Times is a good explanation of the limitations of testing and is worth a read to understand the tests better.

Things are looking like they will get worse before they get better. So important to continue to be safe and sensible. Keep your distancing as much as possible, keep washing your hands and wearing your masks. If you have been saving up an N-95 mask, now is the time to use if, if you have to go shopping or have another risky chore. Please avoid eating in restaurants or bars, (Do I really need to say that?) or other group activities. Make sure your quarantine pod is doubling down on the safety measures too. We can all stay safe if we follow these guidelines, especially now. We are almost there, just a little bit longer.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, please stay safe.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.