The No-Brainer

This is a holiday weekend in both Canada and the US and people don’t know what to do – at least if you believe media reports.

I think it is more likely that people know what they should do – but they don’t want to do it. After all, why should COVID-19 disrupt holiday plans if you aren’t showing symptoms?

Most people with the novel coronavirus, or so I am given to understand, are asymptomatic. They don’t know they are sick – but they are infectious. Which makes them more likely to pass on the virus to someone who may become more seriously affected.

Canadians this weekend are celebrating Thanksgiving, which is normally a time for extended families to gather. Politicians and health officials have suggested that isn’t a wise move this year, especially given that COVID-19 cases are on the upswing as restrictions were eased and the school year began.

They have however hedged in their language. They talk of recommendations, not definites. Which is why the media can have stories about the confusion and mixed messaging. There has been so much changing information as the pandemic progresses, it is no wonder some people are confused.

To me it seems like a no-brainer. If you don’t want to contract COVID-19, or give it to someone else, lock yourself in your home and don’t see anyone. That is the safest thing, as tough as it is to do on a holiday weekend.

But what are the social costs? Is it the best thing for society for us to live as a nation of hermits? This pandemic has been raging for the entire year, though restrictions didn’t come into place until March or later – depending on where you live. After more than six months of wearing masks everywhere and not seeing people, we all crave human contact.

I suspect that many of our elderly population, those who are most at risk from COVID-19, would be willing to accept the risk of catching the virus, and even dying, rather than endure another six months of these restrictions. You reach a stage in life where your priorities shift; human contact becomes more important than living forever.

Which may add to the confusion people are feeling. You know you should stay home, but your parents are aging. They might not be around next year at this time, even if there were no pandemic. Life is frequently fragile, and we can’t always predict the end.

I understand the confusion. And the competing emotions that come with sometimes having to make hard choices.

Staying home this weekend should be a no-brainer. But for many people it isn’t. There are so many factors at play.

What are your plans this holiday weekend (or just plain weekend for those outside Canada and the US) ? Staying home? Or seeing family and friends? And how do you decide?

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