Before the New Year’s holiday, we often remind our readers of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Even if they aren’t so badly impaired that they kill themselves or someone else, motorists who get ticketed for DUI soon learn that it’s a very expensive offense and a terribly inconvenient one.

But this year, there is arguably an even greater risk from partying on New Year’s Eve than a potential DUI: catching COVID-19.

On Wednesday, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported that for the first time in this pandemic, the number of new cases reported in one day broke the 3,000 mark. The day before that, the state set a one-day record of 85 deaths.

This continues a surge in the disease that began in November and has not shown any sign of letting up. If anything, this week’s numbers indicate the situation is getting worse, perhaps due to family and social gatherings that occurred around Christmas, contrary to the strong advice of health officials. The long New Year’s holiday weekend could further exacerbate the problem, especially since there is usually alcohol involved, which lowers inhibition and increases risk-taking.

There will be plenty of New Year’s Eve parties in your life. Give them a pass this year and trust that by this time next year, you’ll be able to let you hair down again.

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