Coronavirus: The Fire Is Out Of Control

(photo from Wikimedia Commons)

20 November 2020

When COVID-19 surged in Allegheny County in late June I wrote about the coronavirus as one very, very difficult forest fire. That surge ended and summer was good. We were able to eat together outdoors. We became complacent. Yet the fire still smouldered waiting to erupt. And now it has.

On Tuesday 17 November 2020 the White House Coronavirus Task Force said:

“There is now aggressive, unrelenting, expanding, broad community spread across the country reaching most counties, with no evidence of improvement, but rather deterioration. Current mitigation efforts are inadequate and must be increased to flatten the curve to sustain the health system for COVID and non-COVID emergencies.”

White House Coronavirus Task Force report, 17 Nov 2020

Allegheny County saw a record-setting surge in the last 5 days and is now under a stay-at-home advisory. If we can’t turn the tide in Pennsylvania we’re in danger of running out of ICU beds all at the same time.

How severe is the pandemic where you live? This map from shows risk levels by U.S. congressional district per 100,000 people as of 20 Nov 2020 at 7am. Red is bad!

“How severe is the pandemic where you live?” Risk level by U.S. cogressional district, 20 Nov 2020 (screenshot from

The coronavirus fire is so out of control that there are some U.S. counties where in a group of 15 people you have a 99% chance of eating Thanksgiving dinner with someone infected with COVID-19. Think about that. You can’t eat with a mask on. 15 people, 99% chance of COVID in the room. What if someone in your family comes from one of those counties?

Every current news article about the virus says that private gatherings are now a major force driving new infections.

And so I’m going to join with many other voices and say, Don’t gather at Thanksgiving.

Two vaccines are almost ready. We could lose loved ones if we gather at Thanksgiving this year. Next Thanksgiving will be fine. Is it worth having Mom die this year when *one time* of carefulness would have avoided it?

Connie Schultz says it really well in This Thanksgiving, Choose Love.

This is the year to focus on the gratitude part of Thanksgiving. Let’s start with the people we love. Not tolerate. Love.

Make that list, and then ask yourself, “Which of these people am I willing to lose?”

Do the right thing. I’m begging you.

This Thanksgiving, Choose Love by Connie Schultz

(photo from Wikimedia Commons, map from; click on the images to see the originals)

2 thoughts on “Coronavirus: The Fire Is Out Of Control

  1. I agree. In keeping with your blog, I have decided over the years that humans are a very impatient species. We want things yesterday. It’s time for us to show some self-control and demonstrate our capacity for delayed gratification, to truly be thankful for what we have right here right now. Mind you I have never been a great fan of any holiday. They always seem manufactured to me. Love to all.

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