'Blaming Young People For The Second Wave Is A Slap In The Face'
"In light of recent events and an escalation in cases we are not serving anyone in the age bracket of 18-25."
That's the message The Oddfellows Arms in North Yorkshire posted this week after the government announced stricter limits on social gatherings.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the 'rule of six' at a press conference on Wednesday, with the overriding message being that the government's crackdown on gatherings is the fault of those in their 20s and 30s.
Unsurprisingly, this has come as something of a slap in the face for many young people.
Over the past few days, coronavirus infections have spiked, nearly doubling to about 3,000 cases on Sunday and Monday, and 2,500 cases on Tuesday.
It seems the immediate response from the government, media and public alike was to point the finger at young people, with Matt Hancock specifically blaming Bolton's stricter restrictions on "socialising by people in their 20s and 30s."
He followed this with: "Don't kill your gran by catching coronavirus then passing it on."
So where is the evidence to suggest the rise in cases is being triggered by young people flouting the rules, you might ask?
Mr Hancock said: "Through our contacting tracing system we've identified a number of pubs at which the virus has spread significantly." Ah, those pubs you asked us to go to?
Quite frankly, people are p*ssed, and rightly so. Young people have been told not to avoid public transport, in the same breath as being summoned back into city centres to save Pret a Manger.
As author Matt Haig so eloquently put it: "UK Government: Eat out to help out. Get back to normal by Christmas. Have a haircut. Stop homeschooling. Get to the office. Go to the pub. Relax. Be Happy. Here's a half price voucher at Nando's. ALSO UK GOVERNMENT: Young people have been socialising too much."
Rather than make young people the scapegoats for a potential second wave, it might be wiser to blame the constant changing of the rules for people being confused and not always following them, but then also being punished when they do.
People have been taking to Twitter to vent their frustration, with one person tweeting: "PM introduces a new 'rule of six' but you can still go to work, school, university, college, restaurants, weddings, sports events. And it's all the fault of young people aged 18-21. #Inept #GetAGrip #ToryFail"
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PM introduces a new 'rule of six' but you can still go to work, school, university, college, restaurants, weddings, sports events. And it's all the fault of young people aged 18- 21. #Inept #GetAGrip #ToryFail
- Kerry Jenkins:rose: (@cummins23) September 9, 2020
"So the government decides to send people back to school and college. But then proceeds to blame young people for the spike in coronavirus cases," said another.
So the government decides to send people back to school and college. But then proceeds to blame young people for the spike in coronavirus cases. pic.twitter.com/achi1QWSRg
- Dat Disabled Guy (@DatDisabledGuy) September 10, 2020
Many people were also quick to point out that when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks, young people have actually been one of the most accommodating generations, with a recent YouGov poll showing that 70 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds wanted the pandemic to be taken more seriously.
"Sixty-seven per cent of young people approve of the 'rule of 6', shown in a poll as soon as it was announced. A lot of young people I know also abide by measures brought in from the start...so who are the idiots who don't really give a damn about anyone but themselves?" tweeted one.
67% of young people approve of the 'rule of 6', shown in a poll as soon as it was announced. A lot of young people I know also abide by measures brought in from the start...so who are the idiots who don't really give a damn about anyone but themselves? Just protestors? :confused:
- DianeB (@Starrygem4) September 10, 2020
While another explained: "Everyone blaming young people for the spike in coronavirus in the UK, I work in retail, specifically a hardware store, the majority of people not wearing masksa and getting in my face is mid or old men, nearly all of the young people wear masks and stand back."
Everyone blaming young people for the spike in coronavirus in the UK, I work in retail, specifically a hardeare store, the majority of people not wearing masks and getting in my face is mid or old men, nearly all of the young people wear masks and stand back.
- Siousie:bee: (@_siousie) September 10, 2020
I swear whenever anything bad happens it's always "young people" who get blamed for anything. This coronavirus outbreak is no different.
- Misha:star2: (@xmishasbx) September 10, 2020
While we all agree that we all have a responsibility to act cautiously in order to avoid spreading infection, and we won't argue with the facts that the spike is particularly acute among younger people - a third of all cases recorded last week were among those aged 20 to 29 - to pick them out and suggest that infections are rising due to their bad behaviour is unfair and inaccurate.
And that's not forgetting how difficult the pandemic itself has been for young people - the thousands of university students who were forced to wave goodbye to their independence and move back in with their parents, the number of weddings that have been cancelled and the young workers who have most been affected by unemployment.
So rather than play the blame game, it's more important now than ever to come together and get through the pandemic together instead of pointing the finger. We all have our part to play - not just 18-25 year-olds.
Featured Image Credit: PA