Young Americans unconscious during Spring Break: “If I have to catch the coronavirus, I will catch it but that will not prevent me from partying” (VIDEO)
Questioned by political leaders and health professionals, will millennials, a generation known to be individualistic, be able to take responsibility for the coronavirus?
“I appeal again to this generation”, launched Wednesday Deborah Birx, who coordinates the coronavirus file at the White House. “We cannot continue to see these large gatherings all over the country,” she added. Mother of two representatives of this generation – which the Pew Research Center defines as born between 1981 and 1996 -, she had already insisted the two previous days on the role of millennials, “the group that will stop the virus”, according to her. Although having spoken mainly of millennials, the manager apparently wanted to type broad, and include the “generation Z”, born after.
While most American states have now ordered bars and restaurants to close, images of crowded places were still circulating in recent hours. In Miami, hundreds of young people flocked to the beach on Wednesday despite instructions inviting everyone to stay at home.
“Not really scared”
“It’s a bit too much, what’s happening,” said Shelly Hill, a student at Georgia State University, in reference to the closures that will force her to cut short her vacation. “I am not really afraid of the coronavirus,” she added. “Young people don’t realize. They feel invincible,” Donald Trump said on Wednesday. It must be said that the pandemic has the bad taste to fall right at the time of the “springbreak”, the spring student holidays, which traditionally give rise to monster and very watered gatherings in the south of the United States.
Millennials but also “Gen Z” have in common that they are more individualistic than their elders, underlines Jean Twenge, author of the book “Generation Me”, the result of a movement that began during the 1950s. are often felt to be fairly protected from the most serious consequences of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, Deborah Birx nevertheless referred to several testimonies from health professionals, in France and Belgium, reporting several serious cases in this age group.
Another strong characteristic of millennials and “Gen Z”: a greater distrust of the authorities, according to Jean Twenge. “Millennials expect brands and leaders to act consistently,” says Jeff Fromm, partner at advertising agency Barkley. “It’s going to be a challenge to get these people to change their behavior,” he says, because “the US government has not been consistent,” first downplaying the epidemic before beating the recall. “I don’t think young people are seriously considering the possibility of being healthy carriers” of the virus, said Nate Christensen, a nursing student, who lives in New York.
Famous millennials have also called on theirs to take responsibility, such as Democrat MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, singers Ariana Grande or Taylor Swift. “To you millennial assholes who keep going out and partying: come home! Stop killing old people, please,” actress Hilary Duff (“Younger”) urged in a video. posted on Instagram.
Jean Twenge believes in a message adapted to the characteristics of this generation which, although more individualistic, is also more centered on the family and the close relations. “It must be said: do not infect your parents or your grandparents. The message must be personalized. It will be less effective if you say: do your civic duty,” said this professor of psychology at San Diego State University.
In fact, if they may have come there later than others, many millennials have taken the plunge and now shut themselves up at home like the rest of the population in the face of the epidemic. “A lot of millennials are over 30, kids, and aging parents, and they’re going to want to protect their families,” says Fromm. “There is now social pressure that encourages people not to go out, not to show themselves in a bar on social networks,” notes Divya Sonti, who lives in Washington. “Normality is defined by what we see on our phones,” she says, and now it’s time for “social shaming” for those who defy the guidelines. “This is, among other things, what makes people stay at home,” she concludes.