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The Power To Minimize Total Catastrophe and #CancelCoronavirus Is In The Hands Of Millennials.
Fellow millennials, I say this with love: the coronavirus is no joke. You need to self-quarantine, practice social distancing, and #staytfhome. Like now.
Stop going to the gym. Stop socializing at the bar. Stop booking last-minute beach getaways. Just stop.
One would think that this could go without saying, especially in unprecedented times like this, but, alas, here we are. I remember sitting in US and World History classes as a kid. My nerd friends and I would be discussing how we would react if we lived during the riots and sit-ins of the 1960s, or the Great Depression of the 1930s, or any other period of time where the unthinkable transpired.
There’s no need to wonder because we’re currently living in that moment where the unthinkable is transpiring before our eyes. California schools are closed for the academic year and the Trump administration is estimating that we won’t be clear until July or August.
As a millennial, I’m ashamed to say that some of my peers are, to use Nigerian slang, “falling my hand”; basically, y’all are disappointing.
How so? I’ll explain.
Despite the State Department urging citizens not to travel on cruise ships, I’ve seen numerous American travelers in various travel groups on social media bragging about snagging cheap cruise tickets and how they’ll be living their best life in coming days. Same with airfare. All of this happening as we watch Europe fall in a fashion I can only assume is reminiscent of World War II in 1939.
But then it hit even closer to home. Multiple people on my personal Facebook timeline have been taking pictures in Hawaii. As in, they just got there. As in, they saw Trump reverse his stance from hoax to “this is a national emergency; sit down and no more than 10 people at yo’ gatherings”, and they still flew from hard-hit California to another state.
And then there was this upsetting video from Clearwater Beach in Tampa Bay, Florida, that looks like something out of an alternate universe.
If you’re reading this and feel singled out, then good, because if you’re one of those ignoring calls for social distancing or isolation at home, then you single-handedly may have aided in worsening a global crisis for cute beach pics that no one can afford to care about right now.
Humanity > Feelings.
This. Is. Real.
The severity of the coronavirus outbreak isn’t one to be taken lightly. It’s been three months since the first coronavirus stories came out of China and they’re just now slowing down the spread thanks to a strong national public health system and people heeding procedures including proper sanitization and working from home when the opportunity presents itself.
We know that it’s airborne and we, as a population, are now at the presumption that anyone with the slightest sniffle, cough, or fever has it and should be self-quarantined. With that being said, China isn’t completely out of the dark despite hopeful signs, meaning, we’re likely in for a long ride.
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Global Map as of 12:00 p.m. ET March 16, 2020. Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since the Helsinki fiasco of 2017, I’ve admittedly been selective with the amount of attention I give Donald Trump for self-care purposes. But with the coronavirus outbreak worsening and his deciding to take the virus seriously three months after the fact, we need as much information as we can get, including the slow drip from an unreliable administration. I tuned into the March 16 coronavirus presser for updates and it was Dr. Deborah Birx who caught my attention.
Some light research reveals that Dr. Birx is an American physician who is responsible for coordinating the White House response to the virus. Of the few people on the frontlines fighting coronavirus, she’s the only one who’s been in this situation with another virus: HIV. Unlike Mike Pence, Dr. Birx’s background work in HIV is impressive and has earned her recognition and legendary status in the global health community.
She piqued my interest because she spoke directly to millennials. She literally said the following and singled us out:
“Right now we need the army of millennials out there doing everything that they can to protect themselves from getting infected because we know a lot of their cases will be mild or symptomatic… they are the core group that will stop this virus.”Dr. Deborah Birx
I get it. It’s lame. The same generation who ignores our pleas for climate and systemic reform and regularly votes against millennial (and their) interests is now pleading for us to save them. We have to listen though. We don’t have the luxury of time to #okboomer our parents into ideological submission. Humanity’s depending on us.
Why Millennials Need To Take The Coronavirus Outbreak Seriously
We’re most likely to transmit the coronavirus to others.
In 2019, millennials overtook baby boomers and became the largest adult population group in the United States. We are the most mobile, we make up most of the workforce, and we are the ones mostly frequenting bars and restaurants. So, in basic terms, we’re the main carriers or hosts. Factor in our age, general good health, and the fact that many of us will be asymptomatic or display mild symptoms, and this thing will continue to spread at the rapid rate it’s been doing.
To put it bluntly, going out in times like this is both irresponsible and selfish. From a group that overwhelmingly supports Bernie Sanders’ platform of altruism and doing what it takes to support and protect the most vulnerable among us, one would expect better. We need to be the change we wish to seek. It’s as simple as that.
The coronavirus is the millennials’ “war”.
The millennial experience is a unique one. From our stereotype as the participation award generation and having insane technological advancements at our fingertips, to being the most educated group in US history only for us to earn low wages in a bad economy after taking on tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Our world is different from what our parents had, and what theirs had before them. So, naturally, our war would also look different.
We are currently the dominant generation, therefore making it our literal duty to spearhead this thing within our communities and help share valuable, truthful information and contain the spread. If this was a foreign enemy, it would be millennials and Gen Z going overseas, not our parents. Our grandparents suited up and went to war, be it on the frontlines or factories. Right now, the parallel of doing what they did is sitting tf home. We’re combating an invisible enemy and the best way to fight it is by not exposing yourself to it. That’s how we flatten the curve.
We have to lead by example.
Have you ever tried explaining news to your boomer parents and they look at you like you’re a tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist? That’s because there’s a fundamental difference in how millennials receive information in comparison to boomers. While we’re on Twitter or other social media platforms, simultaneously captivated and horrified as we watch another mass shooting unfold, or a compilation of Joe Biden’s greatest gaffes, they’re getting a steady stream of propaganda from Fox News or biased reporting from CNN and are under the impression that things aren’t as bad as we insist.
Because we’re the group that can process and share this information, the onus is on us to be leaders and use our voices, our platforms, and whatever resources we have to convey the severity of what we’re facing and what the future has in store for us. I had to carefully explain to my boomer mom, after we left a busy post office and gas station, why it’s imperative of her to wash her clothes immediately and hop in the shower.
I love my mom but I’m putting her on blast for the greater good. We need to take responsibility for our generation, the ones before us, and the ones to come. Some of us didn’t expect that day to come so soon, but it’s here, and we need to step up.
My tone may seem harsh, but that’s our current reality. This is not another flu or ebola and, in all likelihood, will have us returning to a stark new reality much as we did after 9/11. You’d rather hear it from a lifestyle blogger hunkered down in her apartment than the police or military like what’s currently underway in France. Because that’s where we’re headed if we continue to waste the little time we have left.