Selfish young people must take responsibility in coronavirus fight - GP Taylor

IT is now day 10 of my self-isolation. An underlying heart condition makes me vulnerable to the disease that is rapidly changing the world in which we live.

Youths have been congregating at supermarkets, and in towns like Whitby, despite Covid-19 advice to the contrary.
Youths have been congregating at supermarkets, and in towns like Whitby, despite Covid-19 advice to the contrary.

As a baby boomer (those born before 1964), I really do have to take care. My house is like a fortress, signs at the window, post not touched for three days to avoid infection.

Yet, from the safety of my front garden, I can watch the world and nothing seems to have changed. Whitby is still busy, even though the pubs are shut and the cafes are doing a roaring trade with takeaway fish and chips. Social distancing appears not to apply here.

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Parks like Tatton Park in Cheshire have had to shut as large groups of people gather in the countryside, and in resorts, despite the Covid-19 clampdown.

The number of young people that walk past in gangs now that the schools are closed is worrying. They gather in Pannet Park and still go to the beach and into town. It is as if they don’t care or are ignorant that they could be spreading C-19 to those around them.

One of my Millennial daughters has an underlying health condition that makes her highly vulnerable. It is something that I worry about daily and, as a father, makes me so frustrated that I can do nothing to help. This is one thing I can’t fix. Thankfully, she had the sense to get out of London and come back to Yorkshire.

My concern for the younger generation goes further than my daughter. I am very troubled that Millennials and Gen Z will be deeply scarred by what is to come.

They have never experienced having to do without or live under the threat of the Cold War turning hot.

Campervans parked up in Glencoe, Argyll and Bute. PA Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 22, 2020. The Scottish Government has issued a travel warning and criticised the '"irresponsible behaviour" of those travelling to the Highlands in a bid to isolate from coronavirus. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Our children and grandchildren have lived in safe times where external threats are limited. Their biggest fears to be based around what to do if you lose your mobile phone or the wi-fi breaks down.

The closing of schools appears to them as a great excuse for an extended holiday and not a time to stop the spread of a deadly virus.

What we are seeing now is just the start to the crisis. More and more people will die and they will be younger and younger.

Our children may feel they are immune to this, but their self-entitlement will not protect them from the virus.

They can end up on ventilators just as easily as the over 70s. Sadly, an 18-year-old was the first young person to die and they will probably not be the last.

Strange then that the hashtag circulating on the internet by young people refers to the virus as ‘boomerRemover’.

Yes, that’s right. A growing number of our younger citizens are seeing this disease as a way to get rid of older 
people. It was even mooted that it was a revenge plague on those who don’t care about climate change and voted for Brexit.

How long will it be before our young snowflakes are being triggered by the mere mention of Covid-19? At a time when we are supposed to be coming together and making sacrifices for the greater good, young people appear to believe that it isn’t happening.

Last week I made my only visit to the supermarket. Wearing a facemask and gloves, I knew I was 20 per cent less likely to pick up an infection. That was until a young man shouted at me as he walked past that masks didn’t work.

He was aggressive and deadly serious and had fallen for the fake news that wearing masks was ineffective. I shouted back that if they didn’t work, why do all medics wear them? The kid didn’t want to listen. It was as if he had been made invincible by his young age.

Young people have to realise that they too can get sick and even die. Their lack of self-isolation and social distancing means that they could potentially spread the virus and kill someone else.

They have to take responsibility for their inaction. After all, it is their own parents and grandparents they are putting at risk.

In the near future, we will see is the growing anxiety that young people will experience. As more and more restrictions are put in place and towns go into further lockdown – which will shortly happen, young people will find it harder and harder to cope.

The country is changing dramatically and I do not think young people have the capacity to cope with living under wartime conditions.

Anxiety will turn into panic because this generation has been cosseted and overly protected from many of the realities of life.

There is a great need for them to understand that we all have to take this very, very seriously. It is a matter of life and death for so many people.

It worries me that young people do not have the ability to cope with this sort of pressure.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of young people to put aside their selfish ranting that it’s not fair the pub or café is shut.

Life in Britain is about to go onto a war footing. It is something that we have to accept and agree to regardless of age.

GP Taylor is a writer and broadcaster from Whitby.