Young people shouldn’t be blamed for the second wave

Did you know COVID cases are rising at an alarming rate? Outraged. That’s how I feel at the moment. That’s because, to some people, it’s beginning to look like young people are to blame for the second wave Mr. Johnson has announced is here.

Do you want decisions about controlling COVID to be based on politics or science? I know which one I would choose: science. Don’t you think the recent “blame the young” narrative is political? I think so. It’s the Tories dividing people for their own gain. Blaming youth for COVID case rises is blatantly an attempt by the government to appeal to the people who are more likely to vote: people who tend to be older…

The government also stands to benefit from division because the narrative of youthful rebellion is there to distract the public from the appalling job the government is doing, isn’t it? Every day the government’s incompetence is kept out of the news by blaming people our age is another day of failing to hold them to account.

Plus, are you, like me, astounded by the government’s erratic approach to the virus? One minute they’re encouraging us to “eat out to help out”, next they’re closing pubs at 10pm. Local lockdowns are confusing too. It’s very difficult to follow which areas are in lockdown, isn’t it? I admit to not knowing the alternative. But, considering humanity can get people into space, there has to be a better solution than local shutdowns, don’t you think?

With only people who have symptoms being tested, how can we be sure it’s young people who are spreading the virus?

Boris Johnson has said everyone has become “complacent”. However, this view is contradicted by his Health Secretary Matt Hancock, when he said young people were to blame. Why has Mr. Hancock’s boss contradicted his view? After all, I assume they have access to the same information. Can the fight against this awful virus change so quickly?

Living on campus, my experience of the UEA is clear: young people are socially distancing, young people are staying home where possible, and young people are being cautious. It’s a ghost town here. Last academic year it was much busier on campus. But is our UEA experience the norm? I had a look at the data to find out.

The blame apportioned to supposedly selfish teenagers breaking COVID rules is largely unjustified. A global survey has discovered young people are every bit as cautious as older people when it comes to the virus.

Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment. What would I say to someone whose view is that young people should take time to understand the rules? Or to you, if you think we should be intelligent enough to understand what we’re asked to do? After all, we are university students, sixth formers, and some will be experienced employees. My response would be this: young people are busy enough as it is, whether it’s helping as student medical doctors or working in retail, so how does the government expect us to stay up-to-date with their stipulations?

Young people would’ve clapped for carers. It was a moment of unity. Whatever happened to us as a country in such a short space of time to bring about the sudden change of heart? 

Let’s unite again.


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Laurence Scott

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September 2021
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