The news has been flooded with information regarding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. At the beginning of the outbreak, many people said that the disease doesn’t affect younger generations, only older generations. However, recently, more and more young people are falling ill.
On March 18, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published data saying that, from Feb. 12 to March 16, nearly 40 percent of American COVID-19 patients who were sick enough to be hospitalized were aged 20 to 54. As of March 29, Statista reported that 25.6% of COVID-19 cases were people between the ages of 19 and 50.
Despite this, many people still refuse to stay home, despite the CDC and World Health Organization advising social distancing and self-isolation. People also still believe that this disease only affects older people.
“Of course it affects young people; it affects all generations,” said student Lydia White. “We, young people, can feel it affecting us more socially than other areas. Because we want to see and hang out with our friends, social distancing is sometimes hard for some of the younger generations to come to terms with and follow.”
All generations are encouraged to stay home in order to “flatten the curve.” Flattening the curve refers to the number of cases of COVID-19 and the healthcare capacity over time. The more people that stay home and avoid the risk of infection, the fewer cases happening at once and the more the healthcare system can manage patients.
College students have been hit hard by the sudden change. With students being sent home for Spring Break and having two weeks of online classes extended to the end of the semester, many students are forced into completely changing their lives – moving back home, or somewhere else, not saying goodbye to friends and the uncertainty of the future for summer jobs, internships or activities.
Jacque Karp, a sophomore at Drake University, studying International Business, was recently studying abroad when her semester was cut short and she was told to come home due to the rising cases of COVID-19 in Spain where she was studying.
“I think it is crazy how we are living through a part of history right now and that whatever happens now will shape American policy…” Karp said. “I was studying in Alicante, Spain for a semester, which got cut short due to the coronavirus and we were all sent home two weeks ago.”
Though it is important for people to stay home, young people included, there are other measures you can take to protect yourself and your family. With many people of all ages becoming more ill, it is becoming more important that people engage in social distancing, good hand washing and maintaining a 6-foot space between yourself and others.
“Please stay home, self-isolate, because if we don’t millions more people are going to die,” said Karp.
“Please stay home as much as you can. I know it sucks but I read a post that simply said: ‘Change the phrase ‘I’m stuck at home’ to ‘I get to stay at home’; the change in attitude helps’,” White said.