Mass Opinion Matters: Teenagers versus quarantine

This map depicts the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the world. The darker the color, the more cases the country has.

COVID-19 Outbreak World Map / Pharexia / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

This map depicts the number of COVID-19 cases throughout the world. The darker the color, the more cases the country has.

The world has been struck by yet another natural disaster: COVID-19.

This time, people seem more worried about the pandemic than the fires in California. Even still, some people choose to ignore this time of crisis, thinking they are immune. By “some people,” I mean teenagers. 

I admit, even I was not particularly worried when Wuhan, China first started to report cases of this coronavirus, thinking that it was so far away that it did not have the power to affect me. As it came closer and reached Italy and most of Europe, I figured the U.S. was next.

I was not surprised when the virus had reached the Bay Area and when the government had instituted a shelter in place for the San Mateo County and other counties throughout California. With this shelter in place came a teenager’s worst nightmare: staying at home and spending time with their families. 

Though the shelter in place is boring and long, it is still important to obey the government and practice proper social distancing. Despite parental concern and the instituted shelter in place, I see teenagers regularly going outside and socializing with their friends, definitely not staying six feet apart from each other.

They post about going to parties, going to a friend’s house, driving around with multiple people in the car, and going to malls and shopping centers. Whether they sneak out or their parents just don’t care, I see my peers directly going against protective measures for the virus. Of course, many are also being responsible by staying home and using this time to better themselves or find a new activity to pursue. 

With this current pandemic, a common fear is the continued spread of the virus and the overwhelming of hospitals. The numbers of cases and deaths skyrocket every day without a clear end. The government’s enforcement of social distancing is a start in helping the issue.

While it will not end the pandemic, it will flatten the curve, as to not overwhelm hospitals and buy time for scientists to study COVID-19 and develop a vaccine. However, this government method is only effective if it is obeyed. With teenagers and young adults ignoring this mandate, the spread will only continue, causing a longer shelter in place.

While one person may not cause the virus to spread more rapidly, it is the mentality that they enforce that is more dangerous. If one person chooses to ignore the shelter in place, another will take their example, causing a chain reaction. Eventually, the shelter in place will be ignored altogether, and the virus will continue to tear the world apart. 

With that being said, remember that your actions, though unseemingly harmful, have a greater impact than you think.