Dr. Anthony Fauci on Friday criticized young people for breaking free of the lockdowns and spreading the coronavirus in states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
“The overwhelming majority now of people getting infected are young people,” Fauci said. “Likely the people that you see in the clips and in the paper who are out in crowds enjoying themselves.”
Fauci said that it was understandable that young people wanted to get out, and did not want to blame any specific group.
Some states, Fauci said, opened earlier than the coronavirus guidelines advised, but other states that tried to follow the guidelines were faced with residents who ignored the steps to reopening.
“The citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that for a number of reasons likely because everyone feels the common feeling of being pent up for such a long period of time,” he said.
Fauci repeated that he wanted to send a message to America’s youth, who frequently had little or no symptoms of the virus.
“The chances are, that if you get infected, you will infect someone else who will infect someone else,” he said, warning that the young could spread the virus to the elderly or at-risk people with comorbidities.
Fauci acknowledged that he was also once young and felt “invincible” to public health risks.
“You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility,” he said. “Because if we want to end this outbreak, really end it … we have to realize that you are part of the process.”
The White House coronavirus task force briefed the American people at the Department of Health and Human Services about the surges of coronavirus cases, particularly in Southern states.
“As you can see we are facing a serious problem in certain areas,” Fauci said, alluding to states that jumped the gun by reopening too quickly without following the coronavirus guidelines.
Dr. Deborah Birx said she was pleased that more young Americans were getting tested for the virus, particularly after the widespread protests in major cities.
“I know during the protests we asked a lot of them to go forward and get testing, and we see those testing rates really improving,” she said.
Vice President Mike Pence said that roughly half of the new coronavirus cases were under the age of 25 in states such as Florida and Texas and more than half of the cases nationwide were under 35.
Pence appeared less concerned about the infections rising among the youth, noting that they were frequently asymptomatic and not life-threatening.
“We know so far in this pandemic that younger Americans are less susceptible to serious outcomes of the coronavirus,” he said. “The fact that we are finding more younger Americans who have contracted the coronavirus is a good thing.”
Pence urged the youth to “do their part” to reduce the spread of the virus, especially in the 16 states where they were experiencing a boost in coronavirus cases.
“We simply want to equip, particularly young people, with the knowledge of the part they can play in stemming the rising tide of new cases,” he said. “Not because the coronavirus represents a significant threat to them, in most cases it doesn’t, but because no younger Americans would ever want to spread the coronavirus to anyone with a serious outcome.”
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