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Art by Savannah Hawk

Teens and Young Adults In Response to COVID-19

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“We are seeing more people test positive under the age of 35,” Vice President Pence informed America at a press conference that took place on June 26th according to the audio that was obtained by ABC News. “Younger Americans have a particular responsibility to make sure that they’re not carrying the coronavirus into settings where they would expose the most vulnerable,” he stated. 

Social media has given teens and young adults the opportunity to express their opinions as to why cases are so high, and they didn’t shy away. One of the most frequent claims is that people under the age of 35 are less likely to suffer from severe outcomes than older people. 

Teenagers seem to be having a difficult time when it comes to social distancing and sheltering in place. The separation from peers and friends is much more difficult for teens than adults. Being stuck at home with parents makes teens feel infantilized.

For instance, since I haven’t been at school my mother has been requesting me to do a lot of running around for her at the grocery store and such. Young adults on the other hand are similar in a few ways. They too have problems when it comes to separation from friends, but unlike teens, they have the opportunity to go out to bars and parties because of the fact that parents aren’t ruling over them. 

When VOX ATL asked teens how they feel about COVID-19 and how it has affected them there were various answers.

Kelsey Willingham, a 10th grade student attending Westlake High School, said, “The biggest obstruction that COVID has put on my life is me not being able to go out and play basketball anymore and that my plans and goals for this summer/this year have been thrown completely off track.”

Kelsey talked to me about how she has been social distancing since the beginning of the pandemic. She has also expressed how hard it’s been for her to see a lot of her friends out and about having fun while she is still in the house. She knows why it’s safer to stay at home and not be out partying and such, but she still would like to enjoy her summer like many teens would.

I received a similar response from another Westlake High School 10th grader, LeVar Ninvalle. When asked how COVID-19 has impacted him and his summer, he stated, “It shortened my vacation, and made this summer probably the worst of all time, in the sense that I wasn’t able to go places with my friends.” He also explains how his mental health isn’t the best right now because being in the house takes away from his happiness. 

Screenshot via Georgia Department of Public Health (July 17, 2020)
Screenshot via Georgia Department of Public Health (July 17, 2020)

When it comes to the young adults and COVID-19 there are different stories. On July 16th The Georgia Department of Public Health’s covid-19 case demographic revealed that 18-29 year olds have the highest number of confirmed cases which is about 31,700. When interviewing young adults I received information which has made the large number of cases understandable. A 21-year-old, Georgia State University student, Jaden Hawk told me he has been out the house a lot attending lunches in the park, parties, and at bars. He explained that him and friends his age feel like if they were to go home they would have to again abide by their parents rules which is why he stays with friends and doesn’t do much social distancing or wearing masks. 

Poll conducted by Savannah Hawk via Instagram Stories

On the opposite end there are young people who have taken to Twitter to express that they feel that COVID-19 is a hoax and is just a lie that the government has been telling. On an Instagram poll that I conducted with more than 200 subjects, 62% of the subjects do not believe that COVID-19 is real, as of July 17. There were various people that haven’t been taking appropriate precautions because of the fact that they either don’t believe in the virus in its entirety, or just don’t believe that the virus will have a large and detrimental effect on them if they do happen to become infected with it. 

No matter what people are saying and how others might feel, it’s important to remember that to slow the spread you must take proper precautions. Keep an eye on the cases in your area. If you must go out be sure to wear a mask not to only protect yourself, but to also protect those around you. Social distance to the best of your ability. Keep an eye on your mental state to remain healthy. Try to keep a positive mindset and remember that if you keep up with the proper precautions you can slow the spread.

 

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About Savannah Hawk

/VOX Media Cafe

Savannah Hawk, 15, Attends Westlake High School, I’m a little brown girl with a passion for social justice and teenage leadership. Im a growing journalist and upcoming influ...

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