Lock Yourself Down, Now – The Atlantic:

It’s time to buckle up and lock ourselves down again, and to do so with fresh vigilance. Remember: We are barely nine or 10 months into this pandemic, and we have not experienced a full-blown fall or winter season. Everything that we may have done somewhat cautiously—and gotten away with—in summer may carry a higher risk now, because the conditions are different and the case baseline is much higher.

When community transmission is this high, every kind of exposure is more dangerous. A gym class is more likely to have someone who is infectious. Workplaces will have more cases, meaning more employees will unknowingly bring the virus home. More people at the grocery store will be positive. A casual gathering of friends may be harder to hold outdoors. Even transmission from surfaces may pose a higher risk now, because lower humidity levels may improve the survivability of the virus.

Plus, the holidays are upon us, which means a spike in gatherings of people who do not otherwise see one another. Such get-togethers, especially if they are multigenerational, can spark more outbreaks. I take no joy in saying this, but all of this means that any gathering outside one’s existing quarantine pod should be avoided for now—especially if it is indoors. Think of it as a postponement and plan to hold it later. Better a late Christmas than an early medical catastrophe. Pods should not expand unless absolutely necessary. Order takeout instead of dining indoors. Make game night virtual. Shop in bulk, so you can do fewer trips to the store. It’s not the right time for wedding receptions or birthday parties.