“If I get corona, I get corona,” Brady Sluder, an Ohio resident on spring break in Florida, told Reuters. “At the end of the day, I’m not gonna let it stop me from partying.”
He was hardly alone.
Footage from Florida over the weekend showed packed beaches even though last week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other authorities issued warnings to avoid crowds and keep in small groups as “social distancing” measures to hinder the spread of the virus.
Early reports suggested that younger people may be less susceptible to COVID-19. However, new data from the CDC showed that nearly 40% of those who required hospitalization for the infection were between the ages of 20 and 54. Even if they don’t get sick, people in this age group could pass the virus on to more vulnerable populations, especially older people.
“You have a responsibility ― a societal responsibility ― to protect the vulnerable,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on CNN on Wednesday. “You do that, interestingly, by not letting yourself get infected.”
As of Wednesday, more than 9,400 Americans have been infected and 150 have died.
Interviews with some of the spring breakers showed that they didn’t seem too concerned.
“This virus ain’t that serious,” Atlantis Walker of Indiana told Reuters. “There’s more serious things out there, like hunger and poverty. We need to address that.”
Others also told reporters they just wanted to party: