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Opinion Seven governors: Americans need to stay home this Thanksgiving

Travelers wearing protective masks at Oakland International Airport on Oct. 19. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, is governor of Michigan. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is governor of Ohio. Tony Evers, a Democrat, is governor of Wisconsin. Tim Walz, a Democrat, is governor of Minnesota. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, is governor of Illinois. Eric Holcomb, a Republican, is governor of Indiana. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, is governor of Kentucky.

For eight months, the covid-19 pandemic has devastated American families everywhere. To fight this virus, governors across the country have listened to medical experts and worked around the clock to protect our families, the brave men and women on the front lines, and our small-business owners. No matter the action we take, we understand that our fight against covid-19 will be more effective when we work together.

That is why we, a group of bipartisan governors, are joining forces today to urge families across our region, and Americans everywhere, to do their part to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of covid-19. When it comes to fighting this virus, we are all on the same team.

Right now, cases and hospitalizations are skyrocketing in the Midwest and across the country. As the weather gets colder and more people head inside, it will get worse. It is more important than ever that we double down on mask-wearing and physical distancing to help more people get through the winter and protect those on the front lines of this crisis — our doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and truck drivers.

Full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic

There is hope on the horizon. Pfizer and Moderna have both announced that early analyses showed that their vaccine candidates are effective. This is great news, but it doesn’t mean we can let our guard down and loosen the safety measures we have made in our daily lives. It’s crucial that we keep our infection rate low so we can distribute the vaccine as quickly as possible when it’s ready. We must remember that when the vaccine is approved, it will take time to distribute, and we need everyone to continue doing his or her part to protect one another from covid-19.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, we urge all Americans to stay smart and follow recommendations from medical experts: Get together with your family via Zoom to ensure your loved ones stay safe. If you are planning to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, we urge you to reconsider. Think about your last Thanksgiving and the people you were surrounded by — your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends, or the family you have chosen for yourself. Picture their faces — laughing with you, watching football with you or even arguing with you about politics. As hard as it will be to not see them this Thanksgiving, imagine how much harder it would be if their chairs are empty next year.

How will this Thanksgiving be different for you and your family? Write to us.

We must make short-term sacrifices for our long-term health. None of us wants the guilt of gathering and unwittingly spreading this virus to someone we love. As you consider your options for next week, we urge you to make the hard choices because they will ultimately be the right choices.

Each and every one of us have a role to play in this fight, whether you live in a city such as Chicago or Minneapolis, or smaller cities such as Celina, Ohio, or Henderson, Ky. Whether you’re a Wolverine, a Hoosier or a Badger, you have a role to play. This is going to be a tough couple of months. It’s going to be a hard fight. But we are up for this challenge. Let’s continue to listen to medical experts and do our part to protect the brave men and women on the front lines of this crisis. We will get through this together.

Read more:

Megan McArdle: My No. 1 Thanksgiving tip: Don’t gather this year

Kate Cohen: Why we are canceling our family Thanksgiving trip this year

Leana S. Wen: It’s time to rethink how we celebrate Thanksgiving

The Post’s View: Scott Atlas’s rabble-rousing will lead to illness and death. He should be fired.

James Downie: As a third covid-19 wave rises, Trump dawdles and Republicans hide

Helaine Olen: How covid-19 is ripping us apart

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

New covid variant: The XBB.1.5 variant is a highly transmissible descendant of omicron that is now estimated to cause about half of new infections in the country. We answered some frequently asked questions about the bivalent booster shots.

Guidance: CDC guidelines have been confusing — if you get covid, here’s how to tell when you’re no longer contagious. We’ve also created a guide to help you decide when to keep wearing face coverings.

Where do things stand? See the latest coronavirus numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people. Nearly nine out of 10 covid deaths are people over the age 65.

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