No one is immune to coronavirus—not even if you have the magic of Christmas on your side. Just two days after a holiday parade and tree-lighting ceremony in Ludowici, Georgia, the actors playing Santa and Mrs. Claus tested positive for coronavirus. During the event, approximately 50 children posed for photos with the Clauses and were directly exposed to covid-19. Add in the family members who also attended the event, along with the infinite number of people those kids could have come in contact with during the days after the event and before the positive covid-19 test results, the scale of potential exposure becomes alarming.
This news comes just days after an outbreak of covid-19 among schools in the state. In South Georgia, over 200 students and a handful of staff members are currently in quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus. Currently, the Long County school district (where Ludowici is located) plans to remain open through the end of 2020.
Despite all of this, Long County Commissioners Chair Robert Parker said that he didn’t believe the incident was “cause for panic.” I’m curious, what would be an appropriate cause for panic if not an indefinite number of people being exposed to a virus during a global health crisis?
“My children both had their picture made with Santa, and their smiles were bigger than any day when they head off to school, where the same risk of exposure exist.”
I understand that this time of year especially can be difficult for kids, many of whom are isolated from both friends and family, but choosing to put your child’s life at risk just for a photo with an actor playing Santa Claus??
“I have personally known both “Santa” and “Mrs. Claus” my entire life and I can assure everyone that they would have never knowingly done anything to place any children in danger,” Parker said in the statement. “They have both filled these roles for many years, and bringing joy to children during the holidays is one of the most important parts of their lives.”
Unfortunately, trusting a person does not prevent them from infecting you with covid-19—or you from infecting them! But putting children at unnecessary risk? That’s worth a whole stocking’s worth of coal.