Recent editorials from Georgia newspapers:

The Brunswick News on shopping locally during the holiday season:

The holiday season will be officially upon us in a few days, but for businesses and nonprofits it might as well already be here. Both are already working on how to help those they serve during the busiest time of the year for both.

It’s safe to say that 2020 has taken a toll on both sides of the ledger. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on all kinds of businesses as protocols put in place to help reduce the virus’ spread have pushed some places to the brink.

Nonprofits meanwhile are dealing with the two-headed monster of more people in need because of the pandemic and the possibility of fewer and smaller donations this year because of how the pandemic has affected people’s earning prowess.

Add in that there is usually a surge of those who need help during this time of year, and it paints an unpleasant picture.

With the possibility of there being fewer dollars to go around, we encourage everyone who can this holiday season to shop locally and give locally when possible.

It is understandable that people want to indulge in the convenience of online shopping, especially in the midst of a global pandemic. But there are plenty of ways you can shop safe locally.

First, there are plenty of local businesses who have goods available to view and purchase online as well. You don’t have to default to going to Amazon to find what you are looking for.

Second, local establishments have been doing a fantastic job of keeping their stores extra clean and making sure pandemic protocols are enforced while shopping. They have made the best of a bad situation and are able to serve customers in their stores.

Third, and certainly not last, local shops have an impressive array of goods that will make for unique gifts under the tree this Christmas.

As far as charities go, there are numerous local charities that are in need at this time. Drop a few dollars into the familiar red kettles of the Salvation Army. Help make a child’s Christmas brighter by adopting an angel from the Angel Tree to provide gifts he or she might not receive otherwise. Donate to a food bank to help those who need help putting food on the table for the holidays.

If you don’t have the monetary means of helping out, you can always give your time and effort to worthy causes. That is just as valuable to many organizations.

Whatever your plans are this holiday season, let’s help our neighbors as much as we can shopping and giving locally this year.

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The Daily Citizen-News on a Georgia county that has recently been leading the state in coronavirus cases:

Whitfield County has reached the top of the Georgia new coronavirus (COVID-19) leaderboard — and it’s not a spot where we want to be.

Over the past two weeks, Whitfield County has become a white-hot COVID-19 cluster as we lead the state in virus cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks, according to the state Department of Public Health.

During that 14-day period, Whitfield County had 988 cases per 100,000 residents. To put that in perspective, over the past two weeks Fulton County has had 270 cases per 100,000 residents. Whitfield County’s population: 104,628. Fulton County’s population: 1,063,937.

Since the pandemic began in early spring, Whitfield County has had 7,024 confirmed, cumulative COVID-19 cases and 75 deaths attributed to the virus. Just this month, the county has added another 1,332 COVID-19 cases. And the infection rate is showing few signs of slowing down.

The United States is hitting daily records for COVID-19 cases and deaths. Many states are as well.

Medical professionals fear the pandemic will continue to worsen in the winter months as cold weather forces us into poorly ventilated indoor spaces. The winter holiday trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s may also lead to more COVID-19 cases as people eschew recommendations from the medical community and hold large get-togethers and parties. Many college students are returning home for winter break, possibly bringing the virus home with them. And many of us are fighting virus fatigue -- we are ready for the pandemic to be over so our lives can get back to normal.

But normal isn’t happening any time soon. Especially as many of us ignore the advice of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as we refuse to wear masks and/or practice social distancing. The lack of masks and social distancing is evident all over town.

We have to do better.

Wear a mask.

Keep your distance.

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The Valdosta Daily Times on practicing coronavirus safety guidelines during Thanksgiving:

Thanksgiving Day is now less than a week away.

Putting your family first this Thanksgiving may mean staying apart.

COVID-19 is surging everywhere, and we should all be concerned about the well-being of family and friends.

Foregoing large family holiday gatherings for just one year is the wise thing to do in the middle of a global pandemic.

Do not say COVID-19 is not dangerous.

One quarter of a million people have died in our nation.

More people are dying in our own county every week.

Not only does COVID-19 not take a holiday, it is surging during this holiday season.

Not only is COVID-19 still with us, it is getting worse and worse day by day, with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all on the rise.

Vaccines are coming.

We can all wait for family gatherings.

Perhaps you and your family can plan Thanksgiving in the Spring or Summer of 2021.

Health experts across the nation, along with our own South Health District in Valdosta, are cautioning families to avoid traditional gatherings.

Some of you will listen and heed the warnings.

Some will not.

To put it bluntly, putting others at risk is a selfish act on your part.

Consider having a nice Thanksgiving meal with your immediate family that lives under the same roof, and then FaceTime or Zoom with your extended, remote, family.

We know you all have COVID fatigue, and you just want things to get back to normal but we remind you things are not normal — not yet — and we must all be vigilant a bit longer.

We think the South Health District said it well this week when it issued this statement: “Gathering with family and friends for traditional holiday celebrations may seem like a chance to have some fun and unwind, however it is important to remember that these types of celebrations can quickly become a breeding ground for the spread of COVID-19.”

Even beyond Thanksgiving, this is no time to relax our health care precautions.

It is time to double down and renew our efforts to stop the spread of this dangerous virus by social distancing, avoiding gatherings, working remotely when possible, washing hands frequently, using approved hand sanitizer and, yes, wearing protective masks.