Editorial

EDITORIAL: Youth Could be the Key to Keeping COVID-19 at Bay

There’s one thing that tends to remain constant among young folks, no matter what the era in which they first become adults: they fear almost nothing, believing themselves to be invincible.

And from recent videos or news reports showing millennials packing nightclubs, bars and beaches after most states and the District lifted stay-at-home orders and allowed these popular haunts to reopen for business, it’s clear that young adults couldn’t wait to shake off the effects of cabin fever.

But the past six months have been far different from anything Americans or the world have ever faced — the enemy’s name is coronavirus. And as of June 30, there have been 2,679,036 confirmed cases in the U.S. with 791,484 recoveries and 128,791 deaths.

Meanwhile, the White House’s top medical adviser in the administration’s battle against COVID-19, NIAID Director Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, predicted Tuesday that America can soon anticipate new cases of coronavirus totaling 100,000 every day compared to 40,000 per day now if the nation doesn’t make urgent behavioral changes.

Perhaps that’s why governors in states like Florida and Delaware have shutdown recently-opened beaches for the July 4th holiday, remaining closed until further notice. At the same time, both Florida and Texas, whose leaders were praised by Donald Trump for being among the first to end COVID-19 restrictions, have had to abruptly reverse course as virus infections soared to record highs in both states, re-bolting the doors to bars and imposing other limits in hopes to contain the health pandemic.

However, it may be young adults — seemingly healthy young adults who are asymptomatic carriers of the virus — who hold the key to whether the U.S. can get a firm hold on the surging infection rates that have been recorded in at least 24 states, the majority in the South and West.

Chase Bank recently reported that within the last 30 days, young adults 18 -34 far outspent any other demographic of Americans, using a majority of their dollars for entertainment purposes including restaurants, bars and clubs. In these tight spaces, it’s pretty tough to keep a mask on while sipping on a cocktail, munching on appetizers or sharing a puff on an e-cigarette or a joint. One night is all it takes to contract and then spread the virus. And while young adults have immune systems that keep the virus from putting them in the hospital or worse, they are what medical experts refer to as “super spreaders.”

And it’s older adults, small children and those with other preexisting health conditions who can ill afford to contract COVID-19. For African Americans, the situation is even more disturbing. According to a recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll, nearly one-in-three Blacks (31 percent nationally) know someone personally who has died of COVID-19 compared to 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and nine percent who are white. Factoring in those who know someone with symptoms consistent with the virus, the percent of Blacks answering affirmatively rises to more than 50 percent.

Need we say more?

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