Mommy, Is Santa a Superspreader?

The pandemic holidays are here, and they are going to be very, very different this year. Around Labor Day, I wrote about how different the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s would be this year, thanks to Covid-19.

From tinier turkeys and a canceled slate of movie releases to more serious matters like sick relatives, shuttered houses of worship, strained finances, and lonely dinner tables, nothing is normal about this holiday season.

One concern for parents: How to explain that Santa, visitor to billions of homes around the world, wouldn’t be a Covid-19 superspreader? Dr. Anthony Fauci recently reassured concerned children in an interview with USA Today, explaining, “Santa is exempt from this because Santa, of all the good qualities, has a lot of good innate immunity.”

That’s good news for Christmas Eve, but what about all those other days in December when Santa—or one of his, um, representatives—shows up at your local mall or Christmas tree farm to have kids whisper their wish lists in his ear? There’s no way to social distance while sitting on someone’s lap. According to Marker, Santas have taken to Zoom for the holidays, as virtual bookings on HireSanta have increased by 500% over last year.

The Covid-19 minefield remains treacherous this holiday season. Let’s just hope that Pfizer, Moderna, and their competitors are diligently toiling in Santa’s workshop, cranking out that stocking stuffer we are all so eager to receive.

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