A season of disappointment and depression as COVID-19 rages into holidays


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Travelers wearing fully body suits and mask prepare to head to their gate at Terminal 2 at LAX Friday.
Travelers wearing full body suits and masks prepare to head to their gate in Terminal 2 at LAX on Friday. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

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Jenny Maddox, her daughter Kennedy Coen 5, and her new husband, J Lee Maddox, were planning on flying to Indiana to spend time with his family at Thanksgiving. But the surge in COVID-19 cases means their travel plans are up in the air. (Maria L. La Ganga / Los Angeles Times)

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Maria L. La Ganga, Sonja Sharp, Julia Barajas

Business is booming for Maria Mir. Under normal circumstances, she takes little time off in November and December; the holidays are her busy season. But this is 2020. Nothing is normal. And everyone seems to need her at once.

Mir is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She’s used to patients feeling lonely and depressed as Thanksgiving and Christmas near. But “this particular time is different,” she says. “Even people who haven’t felt lonely in the past are now feeling that isolation.”

Pandemic Holiday Season 1.0 is taking its toll on psyches and pocketbooks. We’ve been cooped up for the better part of nine months, but instead of drawing up lists of guests and gifts, we’re cataloging the things we cannot do as temperatures drop and coronavirus cases soar across the country.

Like visit far-flung family and friends. On Friday, the governors of the three West Coast states issued “travel advisories” recommending against nonessential travel and urging people entering California, Oregon and Washington to self-quarantine for two weeks to slow the virus’ spread.

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SANTA MONICA-CA-NOVEMBER 13 2020: A lone shopper passes by the Louis Vuitton store at Santa Monica Place on Friday, November 13, 2020. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
A lone shopper passes by the Louis Vuitton store at Santa Monica Place on Friday. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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A traveler enters Terminal 1 at LAX on Friday. Gov. Gavin Newsom is urging people to restrict traveling because of the increase in COVID-19 cases. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

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Visitors walk past a holiday-decorated window at Anthropologie in Santa Monica on Friday. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)


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