On Friday, I plan on relaxing with my family and staying home on Black Friday. Please do the same. Many people are still going to go shopping for deals on Black Friday inside local retail shops. Huge crowds will gather and hopefully, everyone will wear a mask. Despite all the precautions taken, the virus will still have an opportunity to spread. This will have an overwhelming impact on retail workers and eventually our frontline healthcare workers. Black Friday 2020 will define the meaning for all Black Friday’s for the foreseeable future.
The meaning of Black Friday originated in Philadelphia. Police officers used it to negatively describe the unmanageable chaos of the day (shoppers and unruly Army/Navy football fans). They used the label Black Friday to dissuade people from gathering on that day. It didn’t work and a tradition was born. This meaning entered the national lexicon 60 years ago. Doctors and historians will be using it for the next 60 years to describe a record increase in Covid-19 cases in the US that led to the unnecessary deaths of over 100,000 Americans in December of 2020.
In the last 7 days, 10496 people have died from Covid 19 according to the CDC or nearly 1500 per day. To break the 100,000 in one-month record, we need to reach 3300 deaths per day. Sadly, these numbers are realistic based upon our current trajectory. According to covidtracking.com, there are 85,836 hospitalized patients with Covid 19. This is the most amount of Covid 19 patients in hospitals to date and each day we are adding more. There are 16,811 patients in ICU beds currently. One month ago, that number was 8237. If this number doubles again (or even increase by 50%) our hospitals will be overrun which will also increase the number of dead Americans. The number of deaths isn’t likely to go down with the current number of patients in hospitals and ICU beds. How high it goes depends upon our actions this weekend. This is where the numbers stand currently. We are three weeks removed from a national holiday. The numbers have doubled since Halloween. We are now approaching the biggest holiday gathering weekend of the year with record numbers in every Covid 19 measurable we have. We have reached the proverbial tipping point.
The numbers are going to continue to rise making December a tragic ending to a terrible year. The trend line is going in the wrong direction. Individuals that can afford to stay home are staying home and the numbers are still increasing. Schools are moving back online and the numbers are still increasing. Sports are being played with masks and the numbers are still increasing. Hospital capacity is shrinking, and the numbers are still increasing. Health care workers are quitting, getting sick, and dying and the numbers are increasing. It is past time to stay home.
I hope I am wrong and that Black Friday 2020 doesn’t set us on a new record-breaking path. I hope this is just a dark satirical take at a ridiculously stupid holiday tradition. I hope that the meaning of future Black Fridays remains associated with incredible deals, leftover turkey, videos of people trampling each other for Tickle Me Elmo dolls, and Nebraska losing to Iowa in football rather than a day that unwittingly spiked needless deaths with a vaccine on the horizon.
Please! Please! Please! Stay home this weekend. Let’s make this the worst Black Friday retailers have seen in years and then celebrate in person next year with our neighbors, parents, and other loved ones watching Nebraska beat Iowa on the new TV we just bought from Target.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone. Stay Home and Stay Safe. Beat Iowa.