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Michael Swartz / Mar. 20, 2020

Endangering the Greatest Generation

Partying Millennials are not invincible, and they're putting older people at risk as well.

The message of protecting seniors from the spread of China Virus is important because, according to the CDC, the virus is far more lethal to them due to their weakened physical status and less robust immune systems. Theirs is the age group singled out by the CDC to remain home as much as possible and keep 30 days’ worth of groceries on hand.

On the other hand, the youth of this country are on an indefinite coronavirus vacation. Most secondary schools have begun with a two-week hiatus concluding next week — although it will certainly be extended for at least another couple of weeks, if not the rest of the school year. But those in college will likely finish this semester by taking their classes online from home.

Protection only goes so far, though. Despite the loss of athletics and social events around campus, students determined to participate in the annual rite of spring break were crowding Florida beaches and nightspots. “If I get corona, I get corona,” said one reveler to The Washington Post. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”

That same feeling of invincibility was expressed by another young beachgoer: “It’s really messing with my spring break,” she complained. “I think they’re blowing it way out of proportion.”

But try telling that to the increasing number of Millennials being admitted to hospitals due to the coronavirus. Many other young people are asymptomatic, however, and they’re bringing home more than just a tan. This is bad news for all those they come in contact with (especially the elderly), which is why these spring breakers are of greatest concern to public-health officials.

The adults have since taken charge, though, and an incensed Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis lowered the boom on the celebration. While the state’s beaches aren’t officially closed, the bars and nightclubs are. And that may be enough to break up the party. “The message I think for spring breakers is that the party’s over in Florida,” DeSantis declared. “The bars are closed … so we would just tell those folks maybe come back next year when things are better.”

Nor is it just Florida beaches: The mayor of Ocean City, Maryland, was also urging people to stay home. “While we look forward to the time when we can welcome you again, now is not the time to visit Ocean City,” said Mayor Rick Meehan. As a nearby escape from the Beltway regions, the town was inundated last weekend with St. Patrick’s Day revelers despite the cancellation of their annual parade and a confirmation that a holiday weekend visitor later tested positive for COVID-19.

While it’s unlikely that many senior citizens were mingling with the spring-break crowd, many of those college students will be back home with their families soon. And with the incubation period of the virus estimated to be as long as 14 days, hitting a jam-packed beach clearly wasn’t the best of all ideas.

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