Thanksgiving is this week. Christmas and New Years aren’t far behind. What are the holidays going to be like in this year of COVID-19?
I just saw this article Arizona grandma who sent wrong text has 5th Thanksgiving with stranger (usatoday.com)
You might remember the lady who sent a text to the wrong number inviting who she thought was her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner. When the recipient realized it wasn’t his grandmother, but asked if he could come anyway he was told “yes of course. That’s what grandmas do, we feed everyone”. They have been friends ever since. This year though, they had a very small early Thanksgiving celebration, but without her husband of 43 years because he died of COVID-19.
We see the staggering numbers of the sick and the dead, numbers so big that it’s hard to realize that every single one of those numbers is a person who left a hole in the lives of everyone near them. They have partners, parents, children, friends, coworkers, and more. What is this holiday seasons going to be like for the countless people who have lost loved ones?
I’m sad because I can’t celebrate with my family. I haven’t seen them for a year, and it’s our tradition to have the whole extended family together for Thanksgiving. The whole world is going through this though. Nobody can get together like they want to. It’s hard to whine when I know there are so many other people mourning lost family and friends, and there are so many more living, or dying all alone this year. And we haven’t even mentioned the many who have been hit economically, or who survived the virus but now have crushing medical bills. It’s a bad year all around for way too many people.
I hate to read the news from the US and other parts of the world. It seems like it’s always bad, and then it gets worse. Here in Panama the numbers are up a little, as was expected. The testing is also up. They have been close to or even above the goal of 10,000 tests/day. Contact tracing teams are hard at work every single day. They are caring for the sick at home so they don’t need to go out and infect others, and they are making more use of hotels to isolate the infected. The numbers of recovered people exceeds the numbers of newly infected, and the hospitalization numbers are more or less steady. The 2% death rate has dropped to 1.9% a couple days ago. Of course we wish we were eradicating the virus, but there is a lot to be said for holding steady now that the economy is much more open, and it’s also a time of many Panamanian holidays.
In other news, we had really bad effects from hurricane Eta that came through near here. Then, shortly after, Iota came through on the same path. We were all on high alert but nothing happened here, no rain at all. Unfortunately however, our neighbors in Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras and neighboring countries suffered a second devastating blow. We certainly hope that this is the end of storms for this season! There’s still so much work to be done to recover from the past storms. Today it was such a pleasure to see blue and sunshine in the sky after what seems like weeks of gray, rain, and drizzle. We reminded ourselves that summer is coming and by March we will be begging for rain.
US politics is also a frequent topic of conversation here. I’m tired of explaining that…. well we all know the topics and concerns of the day. There are also many questions about the virus situation, and why people are so resistant to masks and other safety measures. Here, people question and grumble as much as anywhere, but are very cooperative with masks and other things they need to do. There are also the normal questions about the safety, effectiveness, and distribution of the vaccines that are coming, but everyone I have talked with is hopeful that they will be a big step in keeping people safe and returning our lives to normal. We give thanks every day that we are here. Thank you Panama.
This holiday season may suck but there is hope. A vaccine is coming and hopefully it will make a difference. I hope you all are able to celebrate, even if remotely, with all your loved ones. I hope you and yours are OK. Take good care of yourselves and each other.