Christmas or not?

Should we not rather cancel Christmas this year? Considering that we have been through a pandemic, which dragged on much longer than we thought in March and that sometime next year, a vaccine is waiting for us, which like a magic wand will make life return to normal?

There are other good reasons why we should cancel the big gatherings like the Christmas sermon at the Church, which in Thailand and Singapore is when Christmas begins. And Christmas lunches. The risk of spreading the virus to people who we love is real.

The truth is the virus that causes Covid-19 does not care that it is Christmas or New Year’s Eve. It rapidly spreads indoors and in poorly ventilated settings, particularly in households, when people gather together informally in comfortable and close conditions. Disinfecting surfaces and sitting 2 meters apart just isn’t going to stop transmission. It’s best to imagine the virus like cigarette smoke: if one person in the room is smoking, you’re likely to smell the smoke. It’s the same with this coronavirus: if one person is infected, you could also become infected from the aerosols emitted when they breathe and talk. And sing Christmas carols.

Thailand has a very low number of new cases per day and if I should make an exception, then I would say you can in Thailand safely join the Church celebrations. But I wouldn’t do it in Singapore.

At this point in this opinion piece, you are hoping to hear a strong statement that we should of course confirm life by celebrating Christmas full throttle and not allow ourselves be bullied around by this terrorist. But I am afraid I cant do that.

I’m torn between giving people the emotionally reassuring and comforting opinion they want to hear or sticking bluntly to the best scientific evidence we have about transmission and suppression. While independent scientists are one of the few groups who can be unpopular and forthright, opinion writers are stuck in an unenviable dilemma: tell people what they need to hear based on the facts, or tell them what they want to hear based on emotion.

So will I really make the harsh decision and sray away from the Church on 24th December? Yes, I am afraid so. But will I cancel the Christmas dinner with my daughters and grand children. No. That one I will keep up. So there you go – I am not even consequent in my own life, how can I then have an opinion about, what others should do?

Right. Manage your own risks and see you in January.

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