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Opinion >  Syndicated columns

Seven governors: Americans need to stay home this Thanksgiving

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 18, 2020

By Gretchen Whitmer, Mike DeWine, Tony Evers, Tim Walz, J.B. Pritzker, Eric Holcomb and Andy Beshear Special to the Washington Post

For eight months, the covid-19 pandemic has devastated American families everywhere. To fight this virus, governors across the country have listened to medical experts and worked around the clock to protect our families, the brave men and women on the front lines, and our small-business owners. No matter the action we take, we understand that our fight against COVID-19 will be more effective when we work together.

That is why we, a group of bipartisan governors, are joining forces today to urge families across our region, and Americans everywhere, to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of COVID-19. When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team.

Right now, cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the Midwest and across the country. As the weather gets colder and more people head inside, it will get worse. It is more important than ever that we double down on mask-wearing and physical distancing to help more people get through the winter and protect those on the front lines of this crisis – our doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and truck drivers.

There is hope on the horizon. Pfizer and Moderna have both announced that early analyses showed that their vaccine candidates are effective. This is great news, but it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures we have made in our daily lives. It’s crucial that we keep our infection rate low so we can distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible when it’s ready. We must remember that when the vaccine is approved, it will take time to distribute, and we need everyone to continue doing his or her part to protect one another from COVID-19.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we urge all Americans to stay smart and follow recommendations from medical experts: Get together with your family via Zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe. If you are planning to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, we urge you to reconsider. Think about your last Thanksgiving and the people you were surrounded by – your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends, or the family you have chosen for yourself. Picture their faces – laughing with you, watching football with you or even arguing with you about politics. As hard as it will be to not see them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if their chairs are empty next year.

We must make short-term sacrifices for our long-term health. None of us wants the guilt of gathering and unwittingly spreading this virus to someone we love. As you consider your options for next week, we urge you to make the hard choices because they will ultimately be the right choices.

Each and every one of us have a role to play in this fight, whether you live in a city such as Chicago or Minneapolis, or smaller cities such as Celina, Ohio, or Henderson, Ky. Whether you’re a Wolverine, a Hoosier or a Badger, you have a role to play. This is going to be a tough couple of months. It’s going to be a hard fight. But we are up for this challenge. Let’s continue to listen to medical experts and do our part to protect the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis. We will get through this together.

Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is governor of Michigan. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is governor of Ohio. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is governor of Wisconsin. Tim Walz, a Democrat, is governor of Minnesota. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, is governor of Illinois. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, is governor of Indiana. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is governor of Kentucky.

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