Officials say more than 50 kids may have been exposed to COVID-19 while having their pictures taken with Santa
United States coronavirus deaths just passed another horrifying milestone: 300,000 Americans have now lost their lives to this virus. Despite that, and the fact that a surge in cases has many hospitals at or nearing capacity across the country, there are still people who refuse to take precautions. It just happened in Georgia, where a couple who dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus and posed with children at a town Christmas parade tested positive for COVID-19 soon afterward.
The pair have not been named by news sources, but officials say they tested positive two days after attending a Christmas parade and celebration in Ludowici, Georgia. They allegedly posed with more than 50 kids after appearing at a tree-lighting celebration.
Long County Commissioners Chairman Robert Parker said Santa and Mrs. Claus tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, two days after the a parade, followed by a tree-lighting ceremony and a chance to take a picture with Santa. https://t.co/C9wGuAsmEe
— WANE 15 (@wane15) December 15, 2020
Robert Parker, the chairman of the Long County Board of Commissioners, released a statement saying that the pair “were not displaying any symptoms at the time of the event.”
He continued, “While this event was not put on by the City of Ludowici or the Long County Board of Commissioners, it was well attended by our public officials and I believe I speak for the majority of them in saying that we still stand by the decision of the Chamber to move forward with these holiday traditions and to bring some sense of normalcy to these trying times.”
Parker said he took his own kids to the event, and then added this completely mind-blowing statement: “no children were forced to attend the events and that choice was left solely in the hands of their parent.” He says he has known the couple all his life and “they would have never knowingly done anything to place any children in danger.”
I mean, sure. Maybe those kids and their parents were exposed to COVID-19 by their own choice. But that can’t be said of those kids’ teachers. Of essential workers who encountered them at stores and other businesses. Of their classmates, their elderly or sick family members. This is the kind of selfish thinking that has caused the United States to be the country with the most cases and the most deaths. COVID-19 doesn’t care if you make choices to get yourself infected, and it also doesn’t care about all the people in your life who are trying not to get sick.
The CDC says if a family wants to take kids to visit Santa Claus, it’s best to do so virtually. If it must be in person, masked and outdoors is the best bet. If Santa is staying indoors, the CDC suggests he should be behind plexiglass.
The CDC is asking families and children who were exposed at the event to follow its quarantine procedures. Notably, despite a recent increase in COVID cases among students and staff, the county’s school system remains open.