Gen Z, Other Millennials Not Taking The Coronavirus Pandemic Serious Enough.
Actress Hilary Duff didn’t mince words when she sent a message to her fellow millennials who’ve been acting as if coronavirus doesn’t exist.
“To all you young millennial a**holes that keep going out partying…” Duff, 32, posted on her Instagram last week. “Go home!”
Duff isn’t alone in her concern that some millennials and members of Generation Z aren’t taking COVID-19 seriously. Everyone from Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga to the surgeon general and President Donald Trump have issued warnings directed at young people.
“We don’t want [young people] gathering, and I see they do gather, including on beaches, including in restaurants — young people,” Trump said in a White House briefing on Wednesday. “They’re feeling invincible…But they don’t realize that they can be carrying lots of bad things home to grandmother and grandfather and even their parents.”
But as rebellious youngsters are known to do, many aren’t listening. In a recent article, The New York Times reported that younger people strapped for cash are capitalizing on low airfares, opting to travel despite government warnings.
It should be pointed out, there are certainly many younger people taking COVID-19 seriously. And there are people of all generations who may not be taking the pandemic as serious as they should be. (And, full disclosure, the author of this article is an elder millennial.)
Still, a quick search for #springbreak on Instagram or Twitter shows images of crowded beaches in Florida where young people are partying and sunbathing in the face of social distancing.
“If I get corona, I get corona,” one spring breaker told Reuters. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”
There have been more than 9,000 cases of coronavirus reported in the United States with known deaths of at least 150 people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended against gatherings of 10 or more people.
But that hasn’t registered fully with younger generations. Lauren Morgan, a licensed professional counselor in Cleveland and a millennial herself, says the reaction isn’t all that surprising from a generation of young people who feel like the deck has already been stacked against them.
“For a lot of millennials [and Generation Z], it already feels like the end of the world,” says Morgan. “These are young people who don’t know anything other than living paycheck to paycheck. They’re riddled with student loan debt. They can’t afford something like a house or even a car.
“We’re also in this political climate of young people choosing to vote for Bernie Sanders and baby boomers voting for the same sort of thing we’ve always had. So, millennials and Gen-Z say to themselves, ‘You don’t care about us and whether we can afford healthcare. So, we don’t care about this thing that’s affecting you.’”
Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, it’s been reported that older people have been hit the hardest. However, the CDC is hoping to change the narrative that the virus only effects the elderly.
The CDC recently reported that 38 percent of people that have been hospitalized for coronavirus in the U.S. were under the age of 45, including 20 percent between the ages of 20 and 44 years old. The report did not say if the patients had pre-existing medical conditions or were smokers, which could exacerbate COVID-19 symptoms.
If younger people won’t listen to the government, perhaps celebrities like Lady Gaga can make a dent. The 33-year-old mega pop-star took to social media to implore her fans to respect social distancing, if not for themselves then for their older relatives.
“So I talked to some doctors and scientists,” Gaga wrote on Instagram over the weekend. “It’s not the easiest for everyone right now but the kindest/healthiest thing we can do is self-quarantine and not hang out with people over 65 and in large groups.”
Billie Eilish and Ariana Grande delivered a similar messages on social media. As did Taylor Swift, who has more than 128 million followers on Instagram.
“I’m seeing lots of get-togethers and hangs and parties still happening,” Swift said over the weekend. “This is the time to cancel plans. Don’t assume that because you don’t feel sick that you aren’t possibly passing something on to someone elderly or vulnerable to this.”
Even Surgeon General Jerome Adams reached out to Kylie Jenner on “Good Morning America” Thursday asking that Jenner and other social influencers tell their Gen-Z followers to listen to the government.
Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams on millennials and the coronavirus: “We need to get our social media influencers out there and helping folks understand that look this is serious.” https://t.co/M1e2wFmU6F pic.twitter.com/FNjZB12mKK
— Good Morning America (@GMA) March 19, 2020
Yet, the sad reality may be that people of any age who think they’re invincible will continue to do so until proven otherwise.
“I think that’s just true of human nature in a way,” Morgan says. “It’s what we do with a crisis. We pretend that it’s not happening. We don’t want to be honest with ourselves. So we deny the reality of it until it truly hits home.”