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We should probably talk about unvaccinated relatives …

Many of us have relatives who refuse to get vaccinated. It’s the unvaccinated people in the group who are at highest risk of getting Covid, but breakthrough infections can happen, especially to those who are medically vulnerable. If everyone at the gathering isn’t vaccinated and you must go, try to move it outside. Ask everyone in the group, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, to take a rapid home test to make sure no one is infectious.

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We asked readers how they’re approaching the next few months, including the holiday season. A huge thanks to everyone who wrote in. Here’s a selection:

“I won’t cancel my annual Christmas party. Instead we’ll scale back and request vax or testing. We need to maintain connection, be merry together and celebrate life. I’m ready to acknowledge that Covid is the new reality we must live with.” — Jyoti Jani Patel, Seattle.

“I am literally grasping at straws at this point. Last week I ordered a doughnut pan thinking that I would teach myself how to make doughnuts as a way to cope with yet another pandemic winter. I don’t even like doughnuts, so obviously I’m losing what’s left of my mind. I’m not sure which potential winter coping strategy I’ll explore next (maybe soap making?), but I’m sure that it will also reflect my current level of desperation.” — Molly, Maine

“Last year my anti-vax family continued to gather through the entire holiday season while I chose not to gather to save their lives. Even after being hospitalized with Covid this past May, they still won’t get vaccinated. So what changed? Last year I wanted to gather with my family. This year I don’t want to. And, I don’t think I will ever again.” — Melody Marler, Orange County, Calif.

“This year I will functionally act as though the pandemic is over, aside from Covid testing after known exposures. As a transgender woman who derives social well-being and comfort primarily from rave spaces and gay social gatherings, the pandemic forced a recognition of how important social contact was for my mental health, and for the health of my community. It was impossible not to notice the uptick in suicides among trans women last year, which even in normal times are extremely elevated. My social joy, and the social joy of those around me, is not frivolous. It is quite literally lifesaving. I will not abandon that again.” — Julia R, Brooklyn

“We are a Navajo and Mexican heritage family, with a son who is 7, so we’re maintaining stringent winter precautions until our kiddo can access a vaccine. We’ve added outdoor heaters to our patio and are grateful for mostly mild winters in New Mexico. Our attitude remains the same as last year, since our child is still vulnerable as a member of two cultures that are disproportionately impacted by Covid-19.” — Jennifer Cruz, Albuquerque

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