Scientists and government officials fighting the coronavirus epidemic say they have a problem: Carefree youths.
As authorities moved to restrict social gatherings last week, bars and restaurants from New York to Berlin filled up with revelers, illegal “lockdown parties” popped up in France and Belgium, and campuses in the U.S. lit up for end-of-the-world dorm parties.
So far, most young Covid-19 patients have experienced mild or no symptoms from the virus, while more severe cases are concentrated among those aged 50 and over. Data released last week by the National Health Institute in Italy, currently the world’s worst-hit country, shows mortality rates starting at 0% for patients aged 0 to 29 and edging up to peak at 19% for those over 90.
Yet scientists say tests have shown children and young adults are no less likely than older people to get infected and transmit the virus. Epidemiologists are growing concerned that the millennial pushback against social-distancing measures—and an emerging generational divide about how the disease is perceived—could undo all efforts to slow the spread of the virus and put vulnerable people at high risk.***
Inside the stylish Wagemut cocktail bar, a young woman pretended to sneeze in someone’s face, unleashing thunderous laughter.
On Sunday, Berlin health officials said 42 people were thought to have infected themselves in Berlin clubs. Some of those were club-hopping, spreading the virus as they went.
“This is the attitude of people who are part of this nightlife,” said Lutz Leichsenring, a director of the association of Berlin club owners. “So what? You get the flu, you’re not going to die.”***
“They’re preventing us from living,” said Timothée Thierry, a 30-year-old statistician at France’s health ministry. He spoke on Sunday, after the government shut down bars but before it locked down the entire country.
On one hand, wtf. On the other, maybe keeping generations of people at subsistence living at slave wage gig economy jobs was a bad idea. We’ve told them to be thrift, they’re just taking advantage of the bargains and living their lives.
I should note that I personally know NO young adults with this attitude. All the people I know are staying inside. So who knows how overblown this report is.