Continue to Follow COVID Safety Protocols During the Holiday Season

Cassandra Bristol, Staff Writer

   The lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic paired with intermittent lockdowns and isolation from friends and family has obviously taken a heavy toll on everybody. The fact that the pandemic is still raging on after months, now worse than ever, can cause many to feel hopeless, and some have decided to give up on following safety protocols in favor of spending time with loved ones, especially during the holiday season. But since the virus has been spreading like wildfire as of late, the potential consequences of infecting others outweigh the momentary satisfaction of hanging out with friends and family maskless, especially with vaccines around the corner. It is important to stay vigilant about COVID protocols despite their inconvenience.

   According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the United States has surpassed 14 million total cases of COVID-19, with over 280,000 total deaths. The rate of this spread in California and the rest of the states has only increased with the coming of the holidays and the opening of many non-essential businesses. When attending a gathering with no masks, social distancing, or testing, if just one person is infected, everybody else at the gathering is at a high risk of becoming infected as well ( It is hard to be the person that declines the offer to sleep over at a friend’s house or have a nice Christmas dinner with relatives, but ultimately doing so could save the lives of friends, family, and even strangers.

   Wearing a mask when going out is not an act of just protecting oneself, but a symbol of concern for everybody else. Junior Alexander Wicklund said, “I strongly believe that it is important for everyone to follow the COVID protocols that scientists and governments have put in place. It is not just yourself that is at risk, but others as well. By not following these protocols, lives are at risk and families are being torn apart. It is tough, but at the end of the day, wearing a mask and social distancing is essential and it is important for people to care about the people around them.” It is vital for people to lose the individualistic attitude and to decide to actually have empathy and concern for those around them.

   COVID-19 vaccines from companies like Pfizer and Moderna are looking promising in terms of effectiveness and timeliness. According to the official Pfizer website, their developed COVID vaccine is 95 percent effective, and the company is on track to distribute vaccines as soon as possible ( So, if the vaccine is looking so promising, why violate COVID protocols now? If the vaccine will end up successfully initiating herd immunity, why infect others before they are vaccinated? It is clear that COVID protocols as simple as wearing a mask and staying at home must be followed if people are high-risk and immunizations have not yet been distributed.

   A magazine called the New American attempted to misconstrue the CDC’s research on masks, stating that there is “…no conclusive evidence that cloth masks protect users from coronavirus, especially since most people do not use them correctly and do not keep them clean” ( This reasoning has spread across social media outlets and has prompted many to use it as an excuse for their neglect to follow protocols. The reality is, these conspiratorial articles have been disproven time and time again for their lack of substantial evidence. A website dedicated to fact-checking confirmed that the article misrepresented data from a Danish study which did not indicate masks were ineffective ( Misinformation about masks, social distancing, testing, and vaccines runs rampant on the internet, and it is important to understand that most is not backed up by real evidence. So, these fringe articles and conspiracy theories are no excuse to go out into public or spend time indoors with friends and relatives without basic protocols in mind.

   One thing that all people can agree upon is that this pandemic needs to end. Lockdowns that result in closed-down businesses and paranoia that results in social isolation need to end. But the common neglect to commit to wearing a mask or socially distance will only extend COVID-19’s worsening social effects. If people continue to visit the beach, go to the mall, or attend large gatherings in general without doing the bare minimum and wearing a piece of cloth over the mouth, lockdowns will only continue for longer. Right now, the most important thing to do is to do your part. Instead of eating at a restaurant indoors, order pickup from a smaller restaurant that may not be doing so well due to lack of stimulus. Instead of sleeping over at a friend’s house, use FaceTime or Zoom to connect safely. If relatives insist on spending a holiday in-person, try to set up seats six feet apart in the backyard to have the holiday experience with much less risk of infection. And if you see people that you care about on social media being reckless, call them out. These minor inconveniences to your own life could quite literally mean the difference between life and death for others.