As many countries across the world enter their second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there are some stark differences as to how the virus is being transmitted and who it affects. Instead of a spike in cases among older adults and the vulnerable population, the second wave is resulting in more cases in young people. With colleges and schools having reopened in September, it’s no surprise that there is an increase in cases among this group. But the question is how to stop it from spreading among them.
The Problem with Rising Cases in Young Adults
Although young adults are approximately 250 times less likely to die than 85-year-olds if they become infected, there are still serious risks associated with contracting the virus. As research is still in its preliminary stages, the effects of the virus still haven’t been entirely identified. Although the death rate is low among this age group, the virus could have adverse long-term effects on their health. For example, studies have shown that asymptomatic patients are experiencing lung abnormalities caused by the virus. Young adults may feel invincible to the disease, but that is simply false.
The other serious problem with young adults catching the virus is transmission. With financial hardships caused by the pandemic, many young adults have moved back in with their parents. In fact, in July, 52 percent of young adults in the U.S. were residing with their parents, up from 47 percent in February. This means that, although they may not experience severe symptoms, they have a high chance of passing the virus to their parents, who may be more vulnerable. Even if young adults don’t understand the risks associated with contracting the virus, the fact that it’s easy to spread means that they still need to take precautions to protect others.
Unfortunately, as colleges reopened, there has been a spike in cases among young adults. Between classes, sports and social gatherings, there are many opportunities where students are interacting with each other and aren’t taking the necessary precautions. Cases rose 55.1 percent between August 2 and September 5 in people aged 18 to 22, showing a clear correlation between universities reopening and the spikes in cases. Previous reports have also identified this age group as being less likely to adhere to preventative measures. In order to slow the spread of the virus during the second wave, young adults need to start taking these measures seriously.
Encouraging Mask Wearing
Although it varies by the type of mask, it is generally agreed that wearing masks greatly decreases the ability to transmit the virus. That’s because masks create a physical barrier, reducing the ability for germs and body fluids to pass through. In situations where it isn’t possible to stay six feet apart, masks can significantly reduce exposure. That’s why more young adults need to take mask-wearing seriously, especially as they continue to socialize or go to class. Unfortunately, many are reluctant to follow this advisory in situations where it isn’t explicitly forced upon them. That’s where self-expression may help.
By allowing for creativity by using iron-on decals and patches, plain masks can be upgraded to include favorite brands, artwork or sayings. Posters and stickers have long adorned the walls, notebooks and laptops of this demographic, and now masks can become their newest canvas. By allowing them to express themselves publicly, personalization can help set them apart, or it can connect them to like-minded peers.
For colleges, masks can even include their school logo or team mascots. Sports teams have always been a factor when choosing schools to attend. Homecoming games, sports games and their associated parties are widely attended by students. And these traditions have always included elements of school spirit, like face paint or clothes in the school’s colors. As these remain a huge draw for students, many of these events may not be able to handle proper physical distancing measures. By including masks as part of the tradition to show school spirit, safety can become a trend that young adults and universities students want to follow.
Helping Reduce the Second Wave
With more students in class and the flu season upon us, many countries are predicting that the second wave of the pandemic will be worse than the first. Although new data emerges every day about the health tolls of the virus, a complete picture is still a long way off. Short term data shows devastating health impacts, and that’s why all citizens, whether or not they are vulnerable or high-risk, need to take preventative measures to help stop the spread. And if it takes customization to promote mask wearing in young adults and university students, this is a step that everyone needs to consider.
This post has been sponsored by VerbFactory