However, given our current state of emergency, let me be very specific. If you are considering having friends or extended family over for a social event, then ask yourself if this is really worth putting other people’s lives at risk. If you plan on eating at a restaurant, why not lessen the risk to the staff by ordering takeout. If there are compelling reasons to be among family indoors such as a newborn child or a funeral, then insist that everyone wears a mask and limit the duration of exposure. If a family member returns home for the holidays, ensure that this person quarantines for a week.

These little choices will add up and either cause, or prevent, an exponential growth in cases and deaths. Until we develop a vaccine, making safe choices is our only weapon.

It has become tedious for people in my field to make these nagging recommendations which are at minimum unpleasant and, at worst, painful. We understand how terrible it feels to avoid close friends and family for more than a year.

However, please consider the infinitely worse alternative: tens of thousands of dead Americans. Remember the sacrifice of health-care workers who place your safety above their own, every single day.