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Contrary to early reports indicating the coronavirus affects mainly the elderly or those with preexisting conditions, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report indicates that young people are not only getting the virus but are also being hospitalized because of it.
The director of the World Health Organization pulled no punches when discussing how the pandemic will affect young people: "This virus could put you in the hospital for weeks or even kill you.”
At daily press briefings last week, President Trump repeatedly made it clear that everyone, including young people, needs to take precautions to not unnecessarily risk spreading the virus:
“I hope they just listen to what we've been saying over the last period of time. We don't want them gathering, and I see that they do gather, including on beaches and including in restaurants, young people … They don't realize that they're feeling invincible, I don't know if you felt invincible when you were young. But they don't realize that they could be carrying lots of bad things home to their grandmother and grandfather and even their parents."
Despite these warnings, young Americans have been openly defying the president and his team of medical professionals, who are practically begging the Gen Z and millennial generations to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Not all young people are guilty, but scenes from some spring break hot spots have gone viral for all the wrong reasons, and crowded beaches around Florida have looked like anything but social distancing. This forced Gov. Ron DeSantis to finally order the closure of Broward and Palm Beach County beaches, bars and nightclubs while chastising college students for continuing to congregate in large groups.
The “defiant nature of youth” is nothing new of course. Just ask the Baby Boomers — those we’re all now working so hard to keep safe and healthy. In their younger years, they were the living embodiment of youthful rebellion. They gave us Woodstock and the sexual revolution, despite the protestations of their parents, the church and even politicians.
Typically, when young people rebel they do so with little or no risk to anyone beyond themselves and their own body. This time they are endangering an entire society.
This 2020 pandemic version of defiance, however, seems different.
Typically, when young people rebel they do so with little or no risk to anyone beyond themselves and their own body. This time they are endangering an entire society. It’s less self-destructive than self-absorbed. What gives?
I’m a member of this age group and I have altered my behavior. I am not eliminating all my activities, but I am avoiding large gatherings and doing little things like not shaking hands, keeping my distance, disinfecting the surfaces I touch, and washing my hands as often as possible.
I do this so that I don’t get sick myself, but also to protect others, especially the elderly. I also want to do my part to help life get back to normal for everyone as soon as possible.
On Friday, Colton Underwood of ABC’s “The Bachelor” fame and a former professional football player, revealed that he had tested positive for coronavirus. “I’m 28, I consider myself pretty healthy, I work out regularly, I eat healthy … It’s been kicking my ass — just to put it very bluntly.”
He shared that even going up a flight of stairs or to the bathroom is extremely difficult because of how “exhausted” he is. “The reason I am sharing this is not to cause fear or panic, but to hopefully encourage you guys to stay home.”
To college students, and all my fellow 20 somethings: Do better. Show some regard for the communities you call home. Consider the lives of those around you, those who raised you and love you. Their well-being may depend on the decisions you make today.
Your nation and your president are calling upon you to do your part.
You’ve likely been taught to distrust authority, maybe especially the president. I can’t change that now. Instead, trust yourselves. Deep down, you know better.