Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving

November 25th, 2020

Dear Friend, 

It goes without saying that 2020 has been a hard year for every American. We have all sacrificed a great deal as our country has grappled with the coronavirus pandemic. And the fact that Thanksgiving also looks very different for all of us this year is understandably difficult.

Most years on Thanksgiving, I like to start my morning running the Thanksgiving Day Multiple Sclerosis race in Wilmington. Then, I head down to the Emmanuel Dining Room to make sure my neighbors are able to partake in not only a delicious Thanksgiving meal, but also invaluable fellowship.

Even though this Thanksgiving looks different and in spite of the hardships of this year, there’s still so much to be thankful for. More than ever, we should all be especially grateful for our good health and the health of our family and friends. We should give thanks for the food on our tables. We should express our sincere thanks for the health care heroes and frontline workers who have put themselves in harm’s way this year to keep our country running and keep their fellow Americans healthy and safe. And we should give thanks for the men and women abroad defending our country. 

Let us not forget: there are too many families who will not even get to Zoom with a family member or loved one over Thanksgiving dinner because they’ve been lost to the coronavirus. I know that missing gatherings for Thanksgiving may seem tough, especially when being with family and loved ones feels more important than ever. But we are still in the middle of a pandemic, and we need to do everything we can to keep each other safe. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has officially recommended that Americans stay at home this weekend and celebrate Thanksgiving with only your household.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve gotten some much-needed good news. Help is on the way in the form of three promising, highly effective vaccines. But it’s not time to spike the football just yet. Instead, that good news should be extra incentive to stick to the public health measures that we know are effective to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe until we put this pandemic in our rearview mirror.

As Dr. Francis Collins and Dr. Anthony Fauci, leading experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), reminded us last week, now is the time to be doubling down on mask-wearing, social distancing, hand-washing and avoiding crowds, and to stay that course until vaccines become available. After all, if Americans pulled together to do the right thing and wore a mask in public, this simple, selfless act would save more than 130,000 lives in the next few months alone. 

I am an optimist by nature. I always see the glass half full. And I truly do believe that there is new hope on the horizon. But we need to make sure that all of our neighbors and loved ones are around for the New Year, and next Thanksgiving and next Christmas. Let’s all heed the advice of the experts and stay home now so that we’ll be able to celebrate together for years to come.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Thanksgiving, 

Tom Carper