Ok, I admit it. My generation has done a lousy job of making the world safer for your generation. We allowed the political system to be taken over by the very wealthy, which hollowed out the middle class and decimated hundreds of communities. We failed to prevent climate change, which has become a slowly moving catastrophe. We have allowed the federal government to fall into the hands of incompetents. So maybe you don’t owe us anything.
But was there just maybe one grandmother who cared for you when you were sick? A grandpa that always approved of what you did or protected you when a bully picked on you? if so, maybe you would take this opportunity to do something for the grandparents of the world.
You see even though the Coronavirus is not going to kill many people your age, it is going to kill about 10% of people in their seventies and 18% of those in their eighties.
Here is what is happening In Italy, because they did not get healthy people to isolate themselves early on. The hospitals are overflowing with more people than they can treat. The sickest need respirators to help them breathe, but they don’t have enough. Overworked and increasingly sickened health care workers are having to decide who will get ventilator and who will be left to die. The death rate from the virus is higher in Italy than in other places because they didn’t slow the infection rate.
The countries that have taken the most aggressive steps in encouraging social isolation have been the most successful in slowing the rate of infections and avoiding what Italy is experiencing. In the U.S. much progress has been made in the past week with the cancellation of most large public gatherings.
However, it appears that many young adults are oblivious. In Miami, thousands of young adults are partying on the beaches even though the city called a state of emergency. In New York, young adults are lining up to get into bars. We can be sure that many of them will be infected. Few of them will die. But, they will ensure that the ERs in their communities are overwhelmed and that more older people and those with infirmities will die.
I suspect that most of the people doing these dangerous things have no idea what harm they are doing. Certainly the news stories have not made clear what the problem is. Even experts appearing on CNN this morning, did not indicate that everyone should be isolating themselves.
So here’s hoping that despite any disgust you may feel about my generation as a whole that you feel some warmth for a Grandma or Grandpa and that in their honor you will stay at home and isolate yourself as much as possible.