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On this St. Patrick’s Day, the best place to toast ‘Slainte!’ is your living room

If “social distancing” is not seriously practiced, most young St. Patrick’s Day revelers still will be fine. But they could unknowingly carry the virus to others who are at greater risk.

Revelers celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in River North last weekend despite the spread of the coronavirus.
Pre-St. Patrick’s Day revelry takes place in River North over the weekend. Given the coronavirus outbreak, the actual holiday should be best celebrated indoors, the Sun-Times Editorial Board writes.
Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day, and that means a big party in this town!

Except, please, not this year.

We’ll toast your good sense from the safety of our homes: Slainte!

The number of reported COVID-19 cases has now surpassed 100 in Illinois. And you can bet that the thousands of early St. Patrick’s Day revelers over the weekend who filled the streets of Wrigleyville and elsewhere, thumbing their noses at the medical experts, did nothing but fuel the spread of the virus.

Diehard young partiers showed up elsewhere too. They sipped cocktails in New Orleans’ French Quarter, did the two-step in Nashville’s honky-tonks, hit Miami’s beaches and, in general, shrugged off the threat of COVID-19 and let the good times roll on.

That just can’t go on.

If “social distancing” is not seriously practiced, most young St. Patrick’s Day revelers still will be fine, but they could silently, unknowingly and selfishly carry the virus to others who are at much greater risk — an elderly grandparent, a frail neighbor, some poor soul on the L.

“This is not a joke,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Sunday. “No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people of this state.”

Pritzker has ordered all the bars in Illinois closed, and we sure hope that discourages big crowds dressed in green. But any large St. Patrick’s Day gathering, in or out of a bar, would be foolish.

COVID-19 becomes more deadly with each decade of age, according to research from China. By age 80 and older, the fatality rate is 18%. But the fatality rate for people in their 20s is still a not-insignificant .09%.

“You are not immune or safe from getting seriously ill,” Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Sunday. “There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill.”

For your sake and ours, stay home.

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