Millennials and Gen Z, take note: Coronavirus is more dangerous for your health than previously thought. A new report issued Wednesday by the CDC found that one out of five of patients who were sick enough to require hospitalization for COVID-19 fell between the ages of 20 and 44 years. Even more alarming, this age group accounted for 12 percent of all ICU admissions.
That is serious stuff.
The good news is, there are still no reported fatalities among children or teens in the United States. However, that doesn’t hold true worldwide.
The Washington Post reported this week on another study based on 2,143 young people in China, released in the journal Pediatrics. The results showed just as serious results for the young.
Among COVID-19 cases ranging in age from newborns to 18 (with the median age being 7), 52 percent were categorized as mild (typical fever or cold symptoms), 39 percent were categorized as moderate (pneumonia with frequent fever and cough), and 5 percent required critical care. One 14-year-old boy died.
Of the cases requiring critical care, “Those cases sometimes quickly progressed to critical illness with acute respiratory distress or failure which in turn sometimes led to other organ dysfunction — heart failure or kidney injury,” the Post reported.
So while it’s true that young people have much better odds at overcoming coronavirus than older generations, if they catch it, they still have a high chance of landing in the hospital with some scary complications. And of course, there are always statistical exceptions—the one boy who died from the COVID-19 in China, for example.
Will we remember millennials and Gen. Z for their viral spring break videos, where they didn’t show a care in the world for protecting themselves and others from COVID-19? Or, for their selfless (and impressive!) ability to “Netflix and chill”?
Most millennials and Gen Zers are unfamiliar with prolonged hospital stays, let alone time in the ICU. Perhaps a broken bone or an ACL surgery, but six days in the hospital? Unheard of for most. But with coronavirus cases now topping 10,000 in the U.S.—and growing every day—that could quickly change.
Unless young Americans are willing to step up and make personal sacrifices to protect themselves from catching and spreading the disease, they’ll likely know someone — or know someone who knows someone — who was seriously affected by it. That is, if they’re lucky enough not to catch a bad case themselves.
Spring break is something we all used to look forward to—for many, it’s a part of growing up. We can and should have sympathy for all their cancelled plans. But in decades from now, will we remember millennials and Generation Z for their viral spring break videos, where they didn’t show a care in the world for protecting themselves and others from coronavirus? Or, will we remember them for their selfless (and impressive!) ability to “Netflix and chill”?
However damaging their behavior has been thus far, it’s unfair to smear them all for it. Millennials and Generation Z can still step up, and stop one another from making bad decisions in the midst of a global crisis.
Instead of just shaming them, let’s equip them with the facts. And the fact is that young people, by no means, are immune to this.