COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - This week both the federal government and the CDC warned that both Gen Z and millennial age groups are at serious risk for contracting the coronavirus. However, for many in the Gen-Z age group, that hasn’t stopped them from trying to have a “good time" while on spring break.
Here in Columbia, I spoke with a senior at the University of South Carolina who did not want her name or her face revealed. She is currently self-quarantining, as she thinks she may have been exposed to someone who currently has symptoms of COVID-19.
“If you had told me a week ago this is what would have happened, I wouldn’t have believed you,” she said in a FaceTime interview.
She described the scene in Key West, Florida where she and about seven other friends stayed in a two-bedroom hotel as “crowded.”
“Had we known the seriousness of the virus, we would have never gone,” she said.
People in Key West, however, seemed unconcerned with the pandemic.
“We were at our pool for most of the day, but at night we were going to bars,” she said. “And bars in Key West are huge -- tons of people.”
She said a sense about the coronavirus’ larger implications on the country, especially concerning her age group, was almost non-existent while on vacation.
“[People] said coronavirus isn’t real -- it’s not something we need to be worried about,” she explained.
- Experts warn younger people that coronavirus can make them seriously ill
- S.C. governor asks colleges to complete semester online as 21 more COVID-19 cases reported
- UofSC campuses to close through remainder of semester, virtual instruction to begin March 23
- Columbia mayor says mandatory citywide curfew is in place to save lives
- Facts, preventive measures for new coronavirus
In the end, this student knew better. She and her friends left after just five days of spring break. They are all now self-quarantined in their respective apartments and homes.
“It’s been a reality check this week,” she said. “It’s concerning knowing how many people I was around and who I was with and knowing my family hasn’t been around nearly as many people.”
When I asked her advice on what she’d say to kids who are still on spring break, or thinking about taking a group vacation, she said: “It’s time to come home.”