Annika Olson is the assistant director of policy research at the Institute for Urban Policy Research and Analysis at the University of Texas at Austin and a Public Voices Fellow of The OpEd Project. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own. View more opinion articles on CNN
(CNN)I am a 25-year-old healthy runner. And, until further notice, I will be running in isolated areas, reading books, baking and doing yoga at home.But for most of you, it feels like spring break is in full force. Every day, I see more and more Instagram stories of young people at concerts and boozy brunches than I care to count.Recently, Katie Williams, a former Ms. Nevada and candidate for the Clark County School Board of Trustees in Las Vegas, tweeted proudly about her trip to a crowded Red Robin in response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urging “healthy people & people under 40 [to] PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now.
On Tuesday, some Florida beaches were crowded with young folks swimming and sunbathing, despite federal social distancing guidelines. And airlines dramatically reduced capacity and the federal government contemplated canceling domestic flights. There’s even some reporting to indicate that some young people see an opportunity for travel deals — unconscionable, given that experts say we should all act as if we have the virus. This kind of frivolous movement by people who think they’re healthy shows a callous disregard not just for those who are medically vulnerable but for our very health-care system itself.As a generation, we have tackled issues like climate change, which unfolds over decades and millennia. Why are some of us unable to look two weeks into the future here?You’ve all seen the numbers about Covid-19. What you may not realize is that these numbers are not just lower than in reality, but — given our relative lack of testing and the fact that you can be contagious even if you don’t feel sick — they are likely exponentially lower.
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