Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force are speaking directly with younger generations of Americans to warn them to heed the advice of experts on their team and to deliver the message to millennials that they’re not “invulnerable” to the virus.
Last week, Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force, discussed new warnings from Italy and France of a growing number of millennials under intensive care with serious cases of the coronavirus.
“There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill and very seriously ill in the ICUs,” said Dr. Birx during a White House briefing last week.
“We think part of this may be that people heeded the early data coming out of China and coming out of South Korea that the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions were at particular risk,” she added. “It may have been that the millennial generation, our largest generation, our future generation that will carry us through for the next multiple decades.”
She added that “there may be disproportional number of infections among that group, and, so, even though it’s a rare occurrence, it may be seen more frequently in that group and be evident now.”
There is also growing concern that millennials and ‘Gen Zers’ aren’t listening to the government warnings urging them to practice “social distancing.” Florida beaches, for example, were overwhelmed with spring breakers earlier this month despite those early advisories. Some of those in attendance, tested positive for the virus including five students who attend the University of Tampa.
On Tuesday, Dr. Deborah Birx appeared on “The Morning Toast”, known as one of the top millennial morning shows streamed live on Youtube daily and posted as a podcast on all platforms.
“You are working tirelessly. You are looking fabulous doing it. We appreciate both elements equally,” co-host Claudia Oshry said as she introduced Dr. Birx.
Co-host Jackie Oshry added, “Yes, a medical icon and a fashion icon.”
During the interview, Dr. Birx emphasized the need to practice good hygiene during the epidemic by refraining from touching one’s face and hair and cleaning hard surfaces. She also discussed how the virus is spread and what measures to take if you’re sick.
“If you’re a young person, i.e. a millennial, you should stay home and call your physician or call your mom or call whoever you’re normally in contact with about health issues.” she said. “There’s new options now for your physician to be able to just talk you through called Telehealth. So you can get information. Of course, a lot of the information is on the CDC website. I think the most important thing is to stay home and try not to infect the others in your household.”
Dr. Birx’s overall message to the show’s millennial viewers was to do their part to “flatten the curve” to protect the older generations who are at serious risk of fatal exposure to the virus.
To conclude the interview on a light note, the Oshry sisters asked Dr. Birx which actress she would want to play her in a movie Hollywood will ‘inevitably’ create about this pandemic. Her response: “Julia Roberts.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci also appeared on one of the most-watched sports show targeted to a millennial audience, Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” last week.
“When I got the email, I was thinking to myself that things must have the potential to get really bad if it has reached the point where [Dr. Fauci’s] office is trying to get him on ‘Pardon My Take’ to connect with the younger listeners out there,” PFT Commenter, whose real name is Eric Sollenberger, told The New York Post. “I was thinking this could be scary and this is absolutely something that should be taken very seriously.”
In the podcast interview, Dr. Fauci warned young listeners to stay at home and do their part to stop the spread and that although the elderly and individuals with underlying health conditions are most at risk, it’s “the younger individuals, people who are the millennials, people who are otherwise young and healthy” who could be spreading the virus to those at risk.
“The problem is we need the young people to help us to protect the vulnerable because when an individual who is young gets infected and either has no symptoms at all or even mild symptoms, that individual will continue the virus spreading in the community,” Dr. Fauci told the podcast’s hosts.
“And, you know, although you say you have elderly individuals, people who are compromised, generally are gonna be sequestered,” he said. “They’re not gonna be completely sequestered. So you might inadvertently, even though you feel that you are invulnerable, and I mentioned this at the press conference at the White House today.”