When it comes to the holiday season, the majority of Americans are over the prospect of isolation and will spend time with family against recommendations or threats by the government to limit the size of gatherings.
According to a survey of over 1,000 people by Cinch Home Services, most Americans are planning to travel and spend time with friends and family despite coronavirus dangers by over a third of the population:
While the CDC and others have offered best practices for everyone to follow during the pandemic – wash your hands, keep your distance and wear your mask – not all places have specific rules dictating how social gatherings should be conducted, if at all. This has forced many people to assess risk on their own on a case-by-case basis and decide for themselves what additional precautions to take.
Over a third of the people surveyed said they believe socializing is worth the risk of someone contracting COVID-19. After months of limited contact with loved ones, it’s understandable that some might be eager to see loved ones. There have been concerns throughout the pandemic about the effects of isolation and loneliness on specific populations, particularly the elderly.
Nearly 28% of people planning to gather with others in the coming months said they would self-isolate ahead of socializing, and 28% also said they’d avoid particular means of traveling in preparation. However, 1 in 4 people planning to socialize said they wouldn’t be taking any of the precautions we asked about.
A lot of emphasis has been placed on the size of gatherings during the pandemic. Adding more people can often mean adding more risk for virus exposure. When asked what the largest number of people outside their immediate household respondents would feel comfortable gathering with, the average was above 10 for all age groups, with people in their 30s and 40s willing to gather with the most people (12.7 and 12.6, respectively).
It’s likely that the spread of the virus is not as big a deal as those issuing the warnings are making it out to be. As my colleague Alex Parker detailed, Dr. Deborah Birx advised Americans to stay home and not travel this year, then was immediately caught traveling to have Christmas with her large family.
This isn’t the first time an official of some kind was caught flagrantly defying their own rules. Gavin Newsom was spotted dining at French Laundry while Californians remained in lockdown. Democratic Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo was drinking wine at a bar after telling everyone to stay home. The Mayor of Austin Texas told everyone to stay home…from his vacation house in Cabo.
Here’s one by Scott Hounsell about LA County supervisor Sheila Kuehl doing much the same right after telling everyone they need to stop going out to eat.
It’s clear that the virus isn’t that scary. What’s far more frightening is the prospect of being alone on Christmas, especially for elderly Americans who have been isolated for far longer than any person should be.