Hey spring breakers: You are the dystopian horror movie characters nobody roots for
Rex Chapman/Twitter, ABC7 Chicago/Facebook

A video has been circulating of college students on spring break in Florida, boasting of their ability to totally ignore life-saving instructions to stay away from other humans.

As a pandemic the likes of which we've never seen in our lifetime sweeps the planet, these brave young folks are obliviously spreading their ignorant and self-obsessed germs all over the beaches and bars of the U.S. south.


Never mind the fact that millions of us are isolating in our homes trying to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed. Never mind that most of these kids surely have grandparents or loved ones with suppressed immune systems. Never mind that doctors and nurses on the front line are begging people to stay home so they can save lives.

I'm usually fairly forgiving of youthful transgressions, but not this time. The stakes are far too high for this kind of selfish immaturity.

You really want to rip a life-giving ventilator away from your grandma in two weeks, Jessica?

You really think a contagious virus gives a flying fig that you're young and invincible, Brady?

We all know that there's a certain obliviousness and self-centeredness that goes along with youth, but now's not the time for it, Alexis.

We're literally living through the early stages of a dystopian story right now. You and your generation grew up with The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner and Divergent, for the love. I assume you at least saw the movies. You should know how this goes.

Right now you are the dude that does something stupid and plunges everyone else further into the dystopian hellscape. You're the minor character in the opening of the story who somehow manages to make things worse. You're the one that makes the audience yell, "Why are you doing that?! That's so dumb!!" You're the one the reader can predict will come to an unsavory end, because one of you shows up in every story.

Not to mention, you're way behind the plot here. Your behavior belongs in the prologue, which was like a week ago. The rest of us have already moved on to Chapter 3. Catch up, Chad.

Please listen to what literally every public health expert on the planet is telling us. Young people can have the virus and spread it to others even if they aren't showing any symptoms. More than half the patients in the ICU in France have been under age 60. A new report just today shows that 40 percent of patients hospitalized with the virus in the U.S. are between ages 20 and 54.

Yeah, you probably won't die from it. But you may kill someone else by getting it.

Here's a scenario: You were carrying the virus but didn't know it because you're not showing symptoms yet so you jetted off for spring break. You wiped the drool off your chin after a boot-and-rally, then touched a barstool. The chick you were flirting with touched the stool, then hugged her friend who has asthma. A week from now, BOOM. That young lady is taking up critical hospital bed space because this virus is a lung eater and her lungs can't handle it.

Now a doctor who has been working her ass off to save people's lives while putting her own on the line has to decide whether to save that young lady or my 74-year-old mom who caught the virus because she only has one ventilator left. And they're going to choose the young woman, because youth takes precedence when someone has to decide who lives or dies.

But my mom not getting a ventilator and dying an unnecessary death will be your fault because you were young and fearless and "not going to let this virus stop you."

Fearlessness is foolishness right now. Stop it before you kill somebody. Seriously.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

Keep Reading Show less