This group of people is less likely to follow COVID-19 guidelines

I may sound like a broken record here but I think this call to action bears repeating, wear a mask please, the pandemic is far from over folks. While cases are rising to new highs in the U.S., a recent report from the Center for Disease Control highlighted a worrisome trend.

Young people from the ages of 18-29 are participating far less in SARS-Cov-2 mitigation techniques such as mask-wearing, sanitation efforts, hand washing, and social distancing. I know we are all at our wits end with pandemic fatigue but to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe in the colder months when this virus has an easier time to spread I urge you to keep doing the former.

Rising cases are cause for concern

In the U.S., there are currently 60,000 to 80,000 new coronavirus infections reported daily. The Midwest has been hit especially hard with an uptick in COVID-19 related hospitalizations. There are a few reasons why cases are spiking in the colder weather. Many bars and restaurants lifted indoor dining restrictions with limited ventilation and not many options to keep 6 feet away when you’re in a packed dining room this facilitates the spread of the virus.

Pandemic fatigue is reaching an all-time high as we near month 8 of lockdown and quarantine restrictions. People are feeling stir crazy and isolated so they are less likely to avoid crowds at parties and events because they miss being social. Living near local watering holes and cafes with a rotating cast of regulars boosts mood so it’s no surprise people are rushing to a place where “everybody knows their name” so to speak.

The opening of schools and universities prematurely with lax safety protocols was another reason for an increase in cases. Until we have a vaccine it’s much safer to keep learning remote until we fully update schools to be completely COVID-19 proof. Parents, I know balancing work, life, and your child’s education is stressful so here’s a guide for those struggling these days.

We must double down on safety measures to dampen an increase in cases this winter

Experts at John Hopkins University suggest we take further action to drive home the very real importance of sticking to safe quarantine and social distancing measures. You can read the full brief here. “There is a seasonality to many respiratory infections, including influenza, for reasons we don’t fully understand. It’s too early to say whether COVID-19 will be seasonal, but if it is that maybe adding to the current rise in cases and hospitalizations — underscoring the importance of redoubling our efforts to limit the spread,” notes Stuart Campbell Ray M.D. who is an infectious disease expert at John Hopkins Medicine.

Several young people may not “feel sick” because they are asymptomatic. It’s important if you go to any crowded event or have contact with a person who’s been lax about mitigation efforts to get tested. Many free testing sites are available in your community so do your part to protect everyone in it and get tested. Another thing you can do to protect those more vulnerable to infection in your community is to get a flu shot. Doctors highly recommend getting a flu shot this year to avoid a “twindemic.”

The most effective armor we have at our disposal to reduce the chance of transmitting the SARS-Cov-2 virus is the most affordable one — mindfulness. Wear a mask, wash your hands, quarantine, social distance that’s the most effective way to fight the spread. We also need another ad campaign really outlining the importance of doing these small things to keep each other alive. Advertisement campaigns showing how to properly wear a mask, over your nose and mouth, are proved to be far more effective than social media campaigns according to experts.

Dr. Waleed Javaid mirrors the importance of delivering mitigating efforts in the most effective medium possible. “There is still confusion in messaging or false information regarding the illness itself in social media, which may continue to influence decisions made by younger adults. Clear cohesive messaging, backed by science and facts and conveyed via different sources, should be the way to go.”

The takeaway

COVID-19 is far from over and we must stay vigilant and self-less to protect our loved ones more vulnerable to succumbing to this deadly virus. Wear a mask, keep 6 feet away, and turn down that invite to a party with more than 50 people on the guest list. We must sacrifice a little of our social lives to save a lot of human lives.

We hope you stay happy and healthy through this holiday season here — use these tips to keep you and yours safe during holiday gatherings.