In a nation fatigued by social distancing and dying to escape loneliness, the inimitable Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued recommendations for how to have a “safe” holiday season. Spoiler: A CDC-compliant season will not be “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Our national public health experts have steered us confidently through some murky waters. After all, how else would we know that public mask use, which the CDC used to discourage, is “more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine”? So when they release neat bullet points categorizing group activities based on COVID-19 risk and encourage “virtual-only activities,” they convey that avoiding the Wuhan virus is the only thing that matters in the whole wide world.
According to the CDC, virtually every traditional activity you used to do over the holidays with people outside your household is “high risk,” despite the CDC’s own “best estimate” that COVID-19 has a 99.98 percent survival rate for anyone under the age of 50 and a 99.5 percent survival rate for anyone under 70. From the CDC’s point of view, the more you seek to connect with others and include those who are supposed to be isolated, to share some common traditions and a bit of fun in the shadow of the most contentious presidential election of our lifetimes, the more reckless you are being.