Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urged young, healthy people to stay home this weekend
A woman’s tweet about eating at a crowded Red Robin over the weekend served as a reminder to practice social distancing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I’m 30,” Katie Williams, former Ms. Nevada State and candidate for the Clark County School Board of Trustees in Las Vegas, tweeted. “It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I’ll do what I want.”
I just went to a crowded Red Robin and I'm 30.— Katie Williams (@realkatiejow) March 14, 2020
It was delicious, and I took my sweet time eating my meal. Because this is America. And I'll do what I want.
Williams’ tweet was in response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet urging young people to stay home and avoid crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces. “To everyone in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again): PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now. Eat your meals at home. If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID.”
To everyone in NYC but ESPECIALLY healthy people & people under 40 (bc from what I’m observing that’s who needs to hear this again):
PLEASE stop crowding bars, restaurants, and public spaces right now. Eat your meals at home.
If you are healthy, you could be spreading COVID.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 14, 2020
Williams later tweeted “the media wants you to freak out” and “how can you spread a virus, if you’re healthy and aren’t carrying it?”
The media wants you to freak out.
Don't let them dictate your life.#COVIDー19
— Katie Williams (@realkatiejow) March 15, 2020
How can you spread a virus, if you're healthy and aren't carrying it?#COVIDー19
— Katie Williams (@realkatiejow) March 15, 2020
As schools close for weeks and/or switch to online classes, as companies implement work-from-home policies, as major parks such as Disney World and Disneyland close, and as sporting events suspend games and postpone their seasons, people across the country continue to flock to bars, restaurants, and other establishments.
Take, for instance, the scene in downtown Nashville this weekend:
No, downtown Nashville is dangerously stupid.
Pandemic experts have told us to avoid crowds and to self-quarantine.
They’ve told us that we can carry the virus and pass it to others for TEN DAYS before showing symptoms.
They’ve said doing this can save thousands of lives. https://t.co/fmVseO1KQx
— Aaron Mahnke (@amahnke) March 15, 2020
People in Chicago also went out:
This is so irresponsible
— Jaros Designs (@JarosDesigns) March 14, 2020
Same goes for Austin:
Living in downtown austin is weird because whole food and trader joes are a mad house with people stocking up but also the bars are packed with people just…. drinking
— annemarie pettinato (@annemariepett) March 13, 2020
Why should people — particularly young, healthy people — avoid crowded places and practice social distancing?
According to evolutionary biologist Benjamin Kerr, low-risk individuals are crucial to “flattening the curve,” which means reducing how fast the virus move through the population. “Low-risk individuals are a majority & protective measures for this group can be critical for public health,” he wrote in a tweet.
A very simple toy model (SIR w/ high- & low-risk subcategories) captures this idea. Low-risk individuals are a majority & protective measures for this group can be critical for public health. Exploration w/ more realistic models should point to effective ways to #FlattenTheCurve pic.twitter.com/pKT0i5Tj8V— Benjamin Kerr (@evokerr) March 11, 2020
Population health researcher at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia Drew Harris added that COVID-19 epidemic control measures helps “limit surge and gives hospitals time to prepare and manage.” “It’s the difference between finding an ICU bed and ventilator or being treated in the parking lot tent,” he wrote.
Important to remember that #Covid-19 epidemic control measures may only delay cases, not prevent. However, this helps limit surge and gives hospitals time to prepare and manage. It's the difference between finding an ICU bed & ventilator or being treated in the parking lot tent. pic.twitter.com/VOyfBcLMus
— Drew A. Harris, DPM, MPH (@drewaharris) February 28, 2020
Harris told NPR: “If you think of our health care system as a subway car and it’s rush hour and everybody wants to get on the car once, they start piling up at the door. They pile up on the platform. There’s just not enough room in the car to take care of everybody, to accommodate everybody. That’s the system that is overwhelmed. It just can’t handle it, and people wind up not getting services that they need.”
According to the CDC, if COVID-19 is spreading in your community, stay home as much as possible.
“If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease,” CDC’s website states.