Do you remember in early March of this year when spring and fun were on your mind? Thousands of people around Louisiana were celebrating Fat Tuesday. Fridays and weekends were times to hang out with friends or perhaps take in a basketball game.

The parks, restaurants, bars, and backyards were the places to be. Then, this thing happened. Something called COVID-19, a virus that could make people sick.

We were assured by the president of the United States that it was akin to a passing flu bug and would be gone before you know it. And heck, by Easter, he said it might be out of here. Well, we know what happened.

This Thursday we will mark Thanksgiving. I can’t really say celebrate because that would be very difficult to do without family and friends sitting around eating, talking, some drinking and some folks nodding off before midafternoon.

To celebrate would mean we will be with our grandchildren, cousins, moms, dads, nanas and pops and Mee-maws. For the most part it’s not going to happen.

Since those fateful days in March we have lost over 260,000 nanas, pops, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers and friends and to COVID-19. More than 11 million have had the virus.

While some folk will mark the holiday remotely by computer or just sit at home, or whatever way it is done, there will be thousands of doctors and nurses in hospitals, just like the ones here in south Louisiana, trying to care for COVID-19 patients. Some of those front-line workers will be watching people, some of whom did not take this pandemic seriously, die.

In these days in Louisiana and across the nation, the numbers of the dead and infected or spiraling out of control. Some hospitals have run out of places to store the dead and are running out of places to treat patients who are not COVID-infected.

I knew things were going badly here when I saw restaurants and bars that a few months ago had eight or nine cars outside, now have full parking lots. You can see the unmasked backyard groups growing.

Some government officials, including here in Louisiana, plead with the public to follow the science and wear masks, obey social distancing, and forego gathering in large groups, among other things. Most do, but others have the attitude that “the government can’t tell me what to do. My freedom this and my freedom that.”

The science says the masks work. It’s probably why nurses, doctors and other hospital workers wear them religiously.

I ask the non-mask wearers if they could do it so people don’t have to wish dying loved ones goodbye through some gadget on a phone.

How big of a sacrifice is it? A few minutes here and there? This COVID-19 fight is a battle for life and death. What are people going to say? “I don’t give a damn. This is only about me.”

Can you do it for the millions of people who won’t have anything on Thursday because they have been unemployed for weeks and months? Can you do it for the thousands who can’t pay the rent?

If you can’t wear a mask, can you help provide food and clothes to those people desperately needing both for themselves and their children? But do you feel helping people in need is the government coming after you again?

Hey, all of you pro-life people: Are you willing to be pro-life on this side of the birth canal and wear masks because they save people’s lives and the jobs of parents trying to feed and clothe their babies?

If you have COVID-19 fatigue, get over it. Think about the relatives of those 800 to 1,200 people across the country who will die from the disease today.

On this Thanksgiving, let’s do what science says is the right thing to do. Let’s look out for someone else, but especially for our doctors and nurses who probably hope that on this great holiday they are not closing some COVID-19 patient’s eyes for the last time.

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman, at epratt1972@yahoo.com.