The UK has recently reported a surge in coronavirus cases with 2,988 new cases announced on Sunday 6th September, the highest figure the country has seen since 22 May , which is hinting at a feared potential second wave. In the previous week, the seven-day rate of new cases rose to 21.3 cases per 100,000 people, as opposed to 13.9 from the week before, a huge influx to have taken place in a short period.
Despite these figures, schools and colleges have reopened with hundreds of thousands of students returning, where it seems outside the classrooms, social distancing of any sort goes out the window.
This is not to mention all those returning to work and the prospect of university students moving to cross-country still looming.
The government have been swift to place the blame of rising cases on the young, with health secretary Matt Hancock telling LBC radio, “It’s actually among more affluent younger people where we have seen the rise …especially between 17-21”, and lecturing the young not to “kill your gran”.
The debate has taken twitter by storm
This has been met with a huge amount of backlash, with many youngsters claiming that the government’s hypocrisy and unclear instructions are to blame for the inevitable rise in cases.
The debate has taken twitter by storm with young people arguing their side, and quite frankly feeling as though they have been ‘thrown under the bus’, so to speak, by the government, in a time where unity is needed to fight this pandemic, and not the creation of a blame culture.
The government have been encouraging people to go out by opening pubs, gyms and of course the eat out to help out scheme, which was portrayed as though the public were doing a good deed by helping the economy get back on track.
It was quite self-explanatory that the younger generations would be the age bracket to take advantage of these opportunities, as it was unlikely the elderly would be risking their lives for a half price meal.
Students in particular relished at these deals as they have much less disposable income. But Hancock insists “Covid-secure workplaces are safe”, even though the track and trace system is evidently not working, and from my own experience, many establishments I have visited, pubs in particular, are not always sticking to strict social distancing rules.
In the same week, despite the rise in cases, the government still forced the opening of schools and have allowed them to decide for themselves what is appropriate distancing, resulting in bubbles consisting of whole year groups. This has resulted in 100s of children who are not socially distancing.
Furthermore, in most countries, the majority of the workforce is the younger generations, with the government being especially desperate for this age group to get back to their offices.
The government have even been urging younger people to take public transport in order to do so, with train operators laying on more services from 7th September to get back ‘to about 90% of pre-pandemic levels.’
Case numbers first rising in the young does not mean they are necessarily being more careless, but that they are simply the ones who are expected to help bring a ‘return to normality’
Case numbers first rising in the young does not mean they are necessarily being more careless, but that they are simply the ones who are expected to help bring a ‘return to normality’ , with even the PM saying that they are least at risk.
Walking around my local town it is clear to see the lack of social distancing and mask wearing is not limited to one particular age group so therefore this should not be a case of placing blame.
The new rule that no more than groups of 6 can meet indoors and outdoors, was passed on Monday 14th September. It is quite clear that this new rule is aimed at preventing house parties and gatherings and attempts to point out that youth culture is at the root of this ‘second wave’.
Obviously, this type of socialisation is a problem and puts those in the immediate community at risk, but the scale on which people attend parties to the amount mixing at work and in schools seems incomparable.
It seems blatantly ridiculous to blame the spike on youth culture and partying, when the government have allowed hundreds to gather in schools and left many with no choice but to return to work. The new rule seems slightly contradictory as it does little to prevent socialising.
We are still allowed to sit with 6 people in a pub, where there are 100s of people present, but not allowed to sit with 7 people in your own garden. The Conservatives are already setting confusing and contradictory rules and using the young as their scapegoat, which is only going to lead to more problems as the public begin to disassociate from them.
The young are least at risk and so have been expected to go out and stimulate the economy and rebuild society, thus, making us an easy target for the government to scapegoat
Naturally, cases were going to start to rise in the young due to the schemes the government has put in place.
The young are least at risk and so have been expected to go out and stimulate the economy and rebuild society, thus, making us an easy target for the government to scapegoat, so when the virus spreads to the elderly and deaths begin to rise, the focus will have shifted from an incomprehensible government to reckless youngsters.
That all being said, despite the blame being unfairly placed on the young as a collective, we still need to be mindful on our return to university and exercise a degree of caution and respect to those in our community.
Featured image courtesy of Elevate via Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.
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