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Prepare for worst, hope for best: Careful what you wish for

I’ve heard more than a few people say they can’t wait for 2020 to be over.

My response is usually something like, “Careful what you wish for.”

I don’t believe a change of date on the calendar is actually going to magically make COVID-19 or any of our other 2020 troubles disappear.

I have a saying: Expect the worst. When it happens you’ll be prepared and if it doesn’t happen you will be pleasantly surprised. Such is my philosophy on the impending year of 2021.

Nonetheless, as we stare down the remainder of 2020, most of us have learned a lot in the past six or eight months of battling COVID-19, including:

* Social distancing, mask wearing, hand washing and avoiding large crowds don’t necessarily mean you have to live in total seclusion.

Granted, some people choose to do so and that is their prerogative. After all, mask wearing, practicing good hygiene and socially distancing do not guarantee someone will not be infected with COVID-19.

However, practicing those measures can reduce the chances of spreading or contracting the disease.

* Despite efforts to get a vaccine in circulation soon, I don’t believe the general public will have access to a vaccine for quite a while and we might as well get used to living under the specter of COVID-19.

We can decide for ourselves how much of a risk we are willing to take to enjoy life as the pandemic rages.

* That said, we must be respectful of others who may be more vulnerable to the disease, including older people and people with underlying conditions that could make the effects of the disease worse for them. That’s why we must social distance, wear a mask and wash our hands.

If we are going to go out and risk possibly being exposed, we do not need to go visit grandma or grandpa and potentially carry the disease to them.

Points of note to consider as the holiday season approaches amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

Students who are off at college will soon be returning home for the holidays and vulnerable people would be wise to consider whether they should attend family gatherings this holiday season. Perhaps an alternative would be to set up a Facetime visit or telephone call or a drive by event for vulnerable family members during the holidays.

Even younger family members who may choose to gather for the holidays should take precautions to conduct those gatherings in as safe a manner as possible.

Set up a couple of extra tables to enable social distancing during family get-togethers and limit those to immediate family members.

Such restraints are just a fact of life we are going to have to get used to until a good vaccine is available and that could be awhile and not necessarily just because the calendar changes to Jan. 1, 2021.

If you feel comfortable, though, venture out responsibly for walks in the park, small gatherings with friends at a restaurant, wear a mask, keep your distance and live life responsibly.

We still have a few more months of 2020 to endure but be prepared for the carryover of many of 2020’s problems into the New Year.

Remember: Expect the worst. When it happens you’ll be prepared and if it doesn’t happen you will be pleasantly surprised.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at 601-445-3540 or scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com.