We all hoped this holiday season would be a return to normal, or at least close to it. Unfortunately, it looks like that won't be the case.
With the new Omicron variant looming like a Grinch and COVID surging again – is this the fourth surge? – holiday celebrations are being scaled back or eliminated. Positive cases are higher than this time last year, even though there's a widely available vaccine. Some are cautioning that this may be the new normal, that cases will rise every year during the transition from warm to cold as people move indoors. As more people get vaccinated and boosters become a regular thing, this may become just an annoyance for most folks, not unlike the seasonal flu. But like the flu, COVID is likely to remain dangerous to a certain number of people.
So this year and into the foreseeable future, caution is not only warranted, it's imperative. Celebrate the holidays, by all means, but do so in a safe way. Wear masks indoors. Avoid large gatherings. Socially distance. As we chronicle this new world we're all adjusting to, we want our audience to remain healthy and engaged. Things will get better, but only if we all act responsibly, to our families, friends and community. The Chronicle staff wishes all our readers a Merry, if muted, Christmas.