opinion

If I truly knew how to make young people care about the lives of others, I suppose I’d be writing a bestselling book instead of a column.

France has closed all non-essential business. Austria has banned gatherings of more than five people. New York City, Los Angeles, Massachusetts, Illinois and Ohio are closing all bars and restaurants.

And what are young people of Gainesville doing? Partying it up in the bars at night. One of these things is not like the other.

In times of crisis like these, countless stories emerge that show us the powerful solidarity that can come about as we work together to help one another. There are also stories that emerge that demonstrate the worst of humanity, often displayed through ignorance, selfishness and greed.

If you are actively going out to party while a pandemic is occurring, you are no better than that one guy who hoarded 17,700 bottles of hand sanitizer. There is an obvious course of action that can benefit the public health that isn’t being followed.

If you indeed are practicing social distancing, thank you and send this article to someone who isn’t; there are plenty of your friends flaunting their childish defiance on Instagram who may be good candidates for a wake-up call.

I needed one too. As a young and healthy person, it’s hard not to feel invincible. The memes were funny and the flights are cheap. But our parents, grandparents and other loved ones who are immunocompromised are not invincible. It’s all fun and games until you accidentally, indirectly kill someone. There are people in your life who you care about who might die.

Last Saturday, CNN published an article highlighting that infected people without symptoms might play a bigger role in spreading the virus than we previously thought. They cite a cluster of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts in which at least 82 cases were started by people who were not yet showing symptoms and go on to reference multiple supporting international studies.

You can get the coronavirus from a person who looks perfectly fine and then pass it on unknowingly to someone who will die from it. Despite being young, you could still become seriously ill anyhow.

This isn’t a game anymore. The memes get a little less funny with each passing death. You can either fiddle around while Rome burns or get with the program.

If you want to save lives, practice social distancing.

If you want to support local bars and restaurants, buy a gift card, order take out or delivery. 

If you want to continue going out and partying, government officials will likely take action by continuing to close bars and restaurants which probably isn’t good for business.

Don’t be selfish.

If you want to go out and drink the night away at Midtown, save it for when your loved ones are dead.

Zachariah Chou is a political science senior and serves as the Murphree Area Senator.