Today’s the day that, in year’s past, a lot of us would hit the road to begin our Thanksgiving week visits with friends and loved ones. But, as we all know too well, this isn’t your typical year.
AAA is expecting at least a 10 percent drop nationally in the number of travelers this year compared to last. In real numbers, that translates to almost 6 million more people who will be staying home, the largest drop since the recession in 2008.
The numbers are hardly surprising, given the pandemic infection trends. We hope AAA’s projections are a sign that more people are taking the COVID-19 threat seriously. Venturing outside of your immediate family could lead to more infections two weeks from now. And with the Christmas season on the horizon, heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house isn’t a path we can afford to take.
It was hardly a surprise when Superintendent Terry Alban cast doubt on the county school system being able to begin a hybrid teaching model this January.
With cases of COVID-19 spiking just about everywhere, it was only going to be a matter of time before someone said out loud what many of us were thinking. If this is going to be a long winter of increased virus spread, and with the distribution of a vaccine several months away, a return to the classrooms isn’t in the cards.
“Right now, Frederick County is trending in the wrong direction ... and so right now I don’t think you’d see us expand into hybrid,” Alban said during her virtual “Superintendent’s Chat” with parents and others Monday night.
Ultimately, we know that this will be a school board decision about when students will return to the classroom. And we also know that there’s a lot of disagreement over this in the community. But if we return to infection and hospitalization numbers similar to what we saw in the spring, we’re thinking Alban is just ahead of the curve in her comments. We don’t see how the board will have any other choice than to delay the hybrid plan.
How long would you be willing to wait to take a COVID-19 test? Earlier this week, we were hearing reports of people waiting in their cars for several hours trying to get one. Worse, many are now waiting nearly a week after getting the test to find out results.
Nearly nine months into this pandemic, it’s hard to believe that we are still struggling to get this right. To be fair, we’re in a significant surge in infections at the moment that was bound to increase the pressure on testing sites and labs on getting results. We also understand that there’s differences in the timing depending on where you get the test and where those tests are sent for results.
But we also know that quick tests and rapid results are going to be critical to stopping the spread. They go hand-in-hand with wearing masks, washing hands and social distancing. Just as we’ve put pressure on people to follow the rules, there’s going to need to be steps taken to address the long lines and long waits we’ve been seeing.
If there is anything remotely positive about going through this pandemic, we’ve seen so many examples of selfless and heroic acts from our neighbors and friends. Be it from our first responders or charitable acts from others, we’ve been able to witness some extraordinary examples of human kindness.
Our latest example this week comes from Barbara Fisher, a breast cancer survivor and local resident who has been busy making and donating an estimated 1,000 homemade masks to health care workers since April.
Fisher routinely visits medical offices where she has been a patient to drop off baskets of masks that she’s made at home. She makes them to help keep people safe during these tough times but also because she enjoys seeing how her efforts are making others happy.
“I decided this was something that would provide some good to people who maybe don’t have a nice, normal life right now,” she told our reporter Mary Grace Keller. “That makes you feel good, when you do something for somebody special.”
On behalf of the hundreds she’s blessed with these masks, we say thanks.
Yeas and nays is a weekly feature of quick-hit opinions from The Frederick News-Post’s editorial board. Send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.