Covid-19 has gone viral in 2020. At the time of writing there are more than 9500 cases of Covid-19 in the UK, with 465 fatalities. Our question is, are young people well equipped to deal with Covid-19?
Until March 25th the general assumption was that young people, though as susceptible to catching Covid-19 as any other age group, were highly likely to survive it unless they had an underlying health condition. This might begin to change with the death of 21-year-old Chloe Middleton who had no underlying health conditions. Though this is just one fatality, it is a reminder that whilst the likelihood of death is low for the young, it is not an impossibility.
In Italy, at the time of writing, there have been 7,503 deaths from 74,386 cases of Covid-19, the most of any country in Europe. Italy has been on lockdown since March 9th. Earlier this week I talked to Italian student Francesca Carobene about her experience of lockdown:
‘The first two weeks were the most difficult. I miss my freedom, my friends, a real hug; I can’t even go out alone for a run. Because of this I try to keep myself fit doing some exercises in my garden, but it’s not the same as before. Things will never be the same. I’m worried not only about Italian economy but also about the numbers of deaths globally. A mother of a friend close to me remained blocked in Mexico and now this mother can’t come back to Italy and my friend is alone at home and has started talking to the walls’.
Despite this there have been some positives:
‘I’ve more time than usual. During the week I’ve more time to study (I attend my lessons on Microsoft Teams), more time to read (one book in English per week is a good result), and to sleep. I’m trying to take advantage of this situation. I’m thinking about my future and the person I’d like to become. I’m also studying French, but unfortunately the days only have 24 hours!’
‘I have more time too for calling old friends and realising who are my real friends. I’m also discovering the value of family. Before Covid I didn’t feel in harmony with my parents, but now I love them. We are all trying to maintain a joyful atmosphere at home and our efforts are working’.
I also asked if she had any advice for young people in the UK:
‘Keep the mind working and try, whilst remaining at home, to find a good timetable. It’s important not to fall into the hands of depression. I’d suggest everyone to stay in close contact with their relatives, but without seeing the elderly and the weakest for the moment’.
In this respect young people are well-equipped to deal with the coronavirus outbreak due to our intimate connection with technology and the fact that we already live a lot of our lives online. Zoom calls and Google Meets are filling in for house parties that can no longer occur; they’re connecting employees to businesses and teachers to students.
But what about the experience of having Covid-19? Tom Brown, a student based in London, is believed to be recovering from the virus but due to not being hospitalised has not been tested. He has been charting his progress on Instagram.
‘[It’s] been dreadful. The fever is the worst part, it constantly makes me feel tired and it stops me from sleeping. Before I got paracetamol, trying to sleep was a genuinely horrible thing to do. The symptoms are at their worst when lying down; whenever you lie down you feel like you can’t get up again, and it takes ages to do so’.’
‘Weirdly, I was quite relieved when I realised I might have it. If I was going to have it I might as well have it before it peaks, so that if it becomes more serious the NHS won’t be overwhelmed. The feelings as I recover are mainly just happiness. On Sunday morning (22nd March) I woke up for the first time since it started and didn’t feel absolutely awful; I’m looking forward to getting better, getting work done and returning to normal to whatever extent I can.
I feel that young people are approaching this very well. I’d say under-25s are taking it as seriously as any other generation, despite the fact that we are at comparatively less risk than others’.
Young people are well armed to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. We have the technology and, so far, the immune systems and mental resolve to cope. All these factors will become crucial in the months to come so please remember to:
Stay at Home
Protect the NHS
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