Younger people are letting us down

At times of national peril — wars, mostly — we Americans have always been able to rely on great generations of young people. How ironic it is, then, that the greatest of these generations is being let down by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

This is not one of those rants about how the younger generation is going to hell in a handbasket. Not at all. It’s merely a statement of facts.

COVID-19 has made a comeback in West Virginia. Don’t blame older Mountaineers. The vast majority of them seem to be doing what they can to contain the disease. Some of them have been homebound for four months solid.

I know what you’re thinking: It’s those church people. To a minor extent, yes. A couple of weeks ago, 18 new cases of the disease were linked to a church in Wheeling. In Greenbrier County, a 28-case outbreak was traced to a church about a month ago.

But it was contained. As of last Tuesday, there were just nine active cases of the disease in Greenbrier County. Here in Ohio County, the active total is worse, at 54, but still not what one would call out of control.

That isn’t the case in Monongalia County. There, 365 active cases of COVID-19 were reported on Tuesday.

Yes, blame the West Virginia University crowd. Having lost their title (narrowly) as the nation’s No. 1 party school, the WVU kids seem determined to clinch the top spot in “Most Contagious.” That was so clear that on Monday, Gov. Jim Justice shut down the bars in Morgantown.

Younger people gathering in large, tight groups can be blamed for contracting COVID-19 then, because they show few if any symptoms, spreading the virus around to others.

It’s not just the WVU kids, though. As has been reported, the virus got its second wind in part because of people — mostly younger folks — going to vacation places like Myrtle Beach and bringing COVID-19 home.

They waste few opportunities to spread the misery. After months in which coronavirus cases in Wetzel and Tyler counties could be counted on one’s fingers, there’s been an outbreak. Why? Public health officials blame “a large gathering” of people. A big party, it has been hinted.

How do I know it’s mostly younger people spreading the disease? Look at the Monongalia County numbers. Despite the enormous total of active cases, there have been just five deaths. All occurred many weeks ago at a nursing home.

But as young people continue to share COVID-19, more and more will come in contact with vulnerable older West Virginians, many of them members of the Greatest Generation. Some of them will die — because the younger generation let them down.

Mike Myer can be reached at mmyer@theintelligencer.net.


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