Christmas 2020 must be muted

It sounds hard to take the position that Christmas must be played low this year. And yet, that is the message. People should to not go home to the village or travel this year. Stay home. have small outdoor events with family members and close friends. Find creative ways to celebrate Christmas in your home.

Play Christmas music and set up your tree. There are online Christmas themed movies and religious services. Start enjoying them. People have less disposable income or are nervous about spending. Why not reduce buying/giving as many gifts this holiday season? That is a good way to remember what the yuletide and birth of Christ are all supposed to be about.

Read Christmas stories and books in household family events. Do crafts in the house as extra Christmas decorations. Invite limited amounts of guests for braai outside and wear masks as much as possible. Skip the hugs and kisses and greet with waves and sincere affection.

DO NOT go into debt for Christmas. It is a good time to teach kids about delayed gratification. Toys do not make Christmas, love does.

In 2021, the financial situation could end up being as rough as 2020 has been. Save and prepare.

Realistically speaking, we don’t believe many will listen to the points made above.

Already, masks, social spacing and enforced and consistent hand washing/sanitizing has fallen away. People are tired of the pandemic; and yet is the pandemic tired of us?

Are the tippy taps that were so celebrated in March and April still in operation now? Who pays for the water needed and the soap? People have moved away from any sense of urgency in doing the steps necessary to prevent the spread of the disease.

The arrival of the vaccine in the rich countries of the world means that in about a year, the poor countries may get the leftovers. Even that signals hope on some levels. But that small, distant signal of hope is enough for people to begin disregarding all precautions.

Even with the leftover vaccine due at some point in 2021, is Namibia prepared? The medicine must be kept as cold as Antarctica for each shot and it must remain that cold all the time. None of our usual inefficient actions will work. We cannot shut off the freezers at knock-off time and turn them on again only in the next morning. Slapping the vaccine in a fridge alongside our favourite NBL product won’t work.

How many realize that it takes TWO shots for the vaccine to be effective?

Does Namibia have a plan for getting the vaccine out of Windhoek? Anywhere with no electricity for the mobile super freezers needed, likely cannot have the vaccine. Or will we sort things the way we usually do? The rich, powerful and connected will get shots and the rest of us will have to take our chances.

The main problem now is that people with pandemic fatigue are off for Christmas and will spread the disease further.

Gatherings of people not wearing masks, not social distancing and not washing their hands are pandemic breeding grounds. And yet, families and groups of friends do it this Christmas anyway.

As always, people will pile onto buses headed in all directions for the holidays. They will bring the pandemic with them. There will be a spike in infections.

Pleas for a muted Christmas 2020 will be heard by those already aware of the disease’s reach. But, most who think “the Covid is over” or “Covid will not affect us” will do as they choose. Some operate under the illusion that the Christmas they celebrated in years gone by can be recaptured somehow. They are fighting against the new normal.

The emphasis must be placed on ensuring that healthcare facilities are forewarned. Free testing must be made available. Renew the commitment to having hand sanitizers available widely. Continue to take temperatures of patrons when possible for the sake of informing those entering if they have a fever.

Those serving the public must be masked properly (cover your nose!) At least protect service workers from the multitude in front of them who thinks that COVID is no longer a problem.

Let health officials monitor the locations where taxi buses to the village areas are loaded. Make sure overcrowding is managed.

The government must forget their threats of another lockdown. There will be no more lockdowns in Namibia. The economy will crash and stability will dissolve if any such thing happens. We are already struggling to recover from the first lockdowns.

Find other ways to create a new Christmas experience for your family. Christmas needs to be muted. Though these words will fall on many deaf ears, it must be said.

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