Young people and COVID-19: Don’t be scared, but please be wise
This article was published a month ago after The Straits Times did a survey, but we think that the results and reflections here are more relevant now than ever.
As of March 24, the number of coronavirus patients aged 20-29 (141) have exceeded the number of patients aged 60 and above (111). Close to 80% of the young adults who were infected were imported cases, many of them returning from the UK.
We urge everyone to heed the voices from the frontline that are telling us that this disease cannot be taken lightly. Let’s also do our part to take necessary precautions even if it means our plans are disrupted. Together, we can overcome this!
Most Singaporeans are fearful of COVID-19, but it seems this is less true for younger people. In fact, over 60% of those under age 30 said they would continue to attend important events even if they had developed mild symptoms.
In a survey commissioned by The Straits Times, only 31.3% of those aged 15-29 were reported to be staying indoors more because of COVID-19, compared to 58% of those aged 30-49, and 50.8% of those aged 50 and above.
A total of 401 households participated in the door-to-door survey, which aimed to represent Singapore’s various dwelling types, age groups, ethnicity and gender distributions.
Interestingly, the survey also found that if people were feeling mildly unwell, with a slight cough or sore throat, 62.5% of the under-30s indicated that they would still attend important events, compared to 35.2% of those aged 30-49, and 27.1% of those aged 50 and above.
At first glance, could it be that wisdom does come with age?
In the words of Dr Jack Loo, chief methodologist of Nexus Link, the market research company that conducted the survey, the younger group “seems to be oblivious to the perils of the virus infection,” many choosing to ignore the government’s advice to stay indoors if unwell.
But on the other hand, those 30 and older also showed markedly higher levels of fear, with 67.6% of those aged 30 to 49, and 76.3% of those aged 50 and above, admitting that the current situation had made them fearful.
In contrast, younger people were less likely to say they were afraid, with only half indicating such a response.
So while younger people have been less likely to cancel their social plans because of factors such as misjudging the seriousness of the outbreak, those older and more likely to exhibit wise behaviours, such as staying home if unwell, were quite possibly doing so out of fear.
Both ends of the spectrum cannot be the answer. How then can we be truly wise in these times, a people who make faith-based – and not fear-based – decisions?
WISDOM ALL THE WAY THROUGH
Agreeably, for those in our nation who weren’t old enough to have seen and understood the effects of global epidemics such as SARS or H1N1, an invisible sickness and faceless toll numbers may still feel like too far away for discomfort.
But it is also imperative that we listen to the voices from those very frontlines, telling us that this disease cannot be taken lightly. So while it is good to stay hopeful, it is important to stay safe.
Take heart, but please, take the necessary precautions.
Friends call me a 99% extrovert (not true) who needs her daily dose of people.
Staying home more this season has admittedly been a stretch – and the thought of having to sit out any social activity should I be sick is enough to make me consider understating any physical discomfort. (Truth: I have done this before.)
But as in any war, I cannot read stories from the frontline, hear government advisories and go on with life normally.
If it means lowering social engagements and avoiding crowded places where possible, why not make the effort for now? If I have to wash my hands more often and do more rounds of laundry, so be it.
At the same time, I genuinely believe that this is an opportune time for exercising faith and trusting God. To take hold of the fear that may be ebbing and flowing on the inside with every news release and ask ourselves: What exactly have we been believing in and why are we so afraid of a defeated death?
So, yes, we must check our temperatures, levels of hygiene and civic consciousness, but not before we check our hearts. Because there is another war that has raged far longer than any virus on this earth – and that is the battle for our hearts, minds and souls.
Fear and folly are in one camp. Faith is in the other. Our response to any given situation always reveals our true allegiance. And certainly, we need wisdom all the way through.
To cheer everyone up in this time of COVID-19, we’ve created a special Telegram sticker pack called “FAITH > FEAR”!
WhatsApp users can also install our sticker pack here, but do note that you’ll first be directed to download the Sticker.ly app.
THINK + TALK
- How have you been responding to the COVID-19 situation?
- What has the state of your heart been towards all that is happening?
- How can we respond in wisdom that is not just outward, but also in our attitudes?
- If you have been feeling fearful, reflect on what this reveals about what you believe in, and surrender those thoughts and feelings to God in prayer.