by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 26 (Xinhua) -- Normally the U.S. holiday season beginning with Thanksgiving and running straight through New Year's is a time for boisterous celebration, big family gatherings and riotous good cheer.
But as for this year's holiday, starting from Thursday, many people struggling with the disruption and isolation that COVID-19 has imposed on their lives are finding it particularly difficult during the holidays.
With the COVID-19 infections soaring across the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised that families not travel or gather together in large numbers this Thanksgiving, putting a serious damper on holiday cheer.
"As cases continue to increase rapidly across the United States, the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving is to celebrate at home with the people you live with," announced the CDC Thursday.
This has hit many people very hard.
"I can't see the rest of my family this Thanksgiving and that's depressing and isolating," said New Yorker Vera Stabel.
Noel G. of Los Angeles felt the same. "I lost my job and am barely making ends meet with unemployment insurance and my family doesn't want to risk getting together this year for Thanksgiving, and that's a bummer," he told Xinhua Thursday.
Film producer and author Artisha Mann-Cooper was sad that her Thanksgiving would be spent on Zoom this year.
"Thanksgiving is usually a time where we go to multiple family and friend's homes, but that won't be the case this year," she told Xinhua. "I haven't seen my mom and grandmother in person for months, so it's absolutely going to be different this year."
Aaron and Nicole in Seattle, Washington state, told Xinhua that they are staying at home for the first time for Thanksgiving this year, but still plan to make a traditional, roast turkey feast.
Kirsti McCabe in New York is also staying safe at home for Thanksgiving but thought a tasty spinach quiche and piping hot-from-the-oven homemade chocolate chip cookies will bring a little joyful consolation to the day.
"I'm especially thankful to all the mothers everywhere, who have had to deal with so many more challenges this year yet managed to keep their families together in a pandemic even when families can't actually get together," said Katie Peyree of Oregon.
James Chiao, co-composer with his wife Lily Chiao of the popular and heartwarming song "Happy Wife, Happy Life," told Xinhua that "Faced with the current rampant pandemic, everyone's best safe haven (this Thanksgiving) is naturally their own home. Having a warm and happy family is the greatest comfort and greatest satisfaction."
The United States by Thursday afternoon has recorded more than 12.86 million cases and over 263,200 deaths, both the highest in the world, according to the real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
Nearly 90,000 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals across the country as of Thursday, the Thanksgiving day, reaching a new all-time high for the 16th consecutive day, according to The COVID Tracking Project.