Young People Aren’t Taking COVID-19 Seriously; They Think They’re Safe

Paige Poggione, Reporter

Here’s the deal: our entire world is dealing with a global pandemic, and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how young and healthy you think you are; stay inside and stop being selfish. 

Over the past few weeks, I have seen inspiring posts all over social media, which has been a beautiful testament to our ability to come together and support one another, even if it’s from afar. But at the same time, I, along with the rest of the world, have seen a disturbing amount of posts on social media from people I do and do not know, sharing videos and pictures of themselves partying or being out and about— with more than 10 people, which only adds insult to injury. 

Earlier this year, in an attempt to help students manage stress and not freak out about the coronavirus, several of my professors told my classmates and I that our likelihood to contract the virus is low and even if we were to contract it, that our symptoms would be mild or almost unnoticeable. 

While I appreciate the effort to quell our anxieties, I think it stuck with many–a lot more than it should have.

According to an article in The New York Times, American adults of all ages–meaning not only elderly people or those with underlying health risks–are being seriously sickened by the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shared data earlier this month that revealed people aged 20 to 44 accounted for about 29% of the nation’s cases so far, and 20% of the coronavirus hospitalizations in the U.S.

“If that many younger people are being hospitalized, that means that there are a lot of young people in the community that are walking around with the infection,” Dr. Christopher Carlsten, head of respiratory medicine at the University of British Columbia said.

While these numbers may not seem too worrying, the fact of the matter is: cases among young people are less frequently reported than other age groups because of the less severe symptoms. As this is the case, those young people who write off symptoms as “nothing,” or simply do not feel any at all, are risking spreading the virus to any number of others when they carelessly go out or spend time with large groups of people, despite warnings.

Just two weeks ago, a video of several college-aged spring breakers in Florida went viral after many of them displayed some of the most selfish and careless behaviors and opinions on COVID-19. 

“If I get corona, I get corona. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying,” spring breaker Brady Sluder said.

Sluder has since issued an apology for his statements.

Ultimately, the virus does not discriminate and if not for other people, the youngest generations need to stay in for their own well-being, that is, in fact, also at risk. 

“The virus isn’t a mathematical formula. There are going to be people who are young who are going to wind up getting seriously ill,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said during an interview on CNN. 

Call me paranoid, but I don’t feel like I am invincible by any means, and this virus scares me, and I think it should scare all of us.

“I feel like a lot of young people don’t realize how serious the coronavirus actually is,” junior Brandi Sloane said. “I’ve seen multiple people still going out and hanging out with their friends, completely ignoring the quarantine and social distancing rules.”

To me, ignoring social distancing and not attempting to quarantine as much as possible is irresponsible, and more importantly, disrespectful. It is disrespectful to everyone at risk, to those of us who are taking it seriously, and most importantly, to the people being killed by the virus and the healthcare workers who are risking their lives every day to save others’.

“You have a responsibility, a societal responsibility, to protect the vulnerable, and you do that — interestingly — by not letting yourself get infected,” Fauci said. “You need to make sure you don’t inadvertently pass on the infection to someone who would not fare as well as you fare because you are young and healthy.”

I know it’s hard and boring–believe me, I do– but it is possible to do the bare minimum and stay at home. This is the time to let our special abilities shine; specifically, our ability to binge-watch an entire TV show in one day.