Federal, state leaders urge younger people help lessen spread of COVID-19

Health experts around the country want younger age groups among adults to know that what you do can impact everyone, especially older generations. A 17-year-old who tested positive for the coronvirus has the same message.

With more young adults testing positive, the White House Coronavirus Task Force said Friday people can be at risk for COVID-19 at any age.

Task force officials also reminded people we must be mindful of possible risk factors people near us in public places might have, no matter how old they are.

Young people are currently driving the surge of new cases across the country and in Florida.

Rebecca Pacter, 17, in Naples knows recently tested positive for COVID-19 after a graduation party.

“My parents thought I was on death row,” Pacter said. “it was so scary. I was scared.”

Pacter is now urging others her age to not only take precautions but go above and beyond. She often wore a mask and didn’t go into big crowds. But she became sick after celebrating at a graduation party of just six individuals.

“I wish I would have stayed home, listened to what’s going on,” Pacter said. “Listen to these people that are talking to you. It could save your life.”

And it could save the lives of those most at risk.

“It’s really important for folks who may be in some of those vulnerable groups to really understand that you’re seeing more community transmission amongst the younger groups,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said durig a presser at Gulf Coast Medical Center in south Fort Myers.

While younger people have better survival rates, experts say they are infecting people who won’t. That includes Amber Bonhoff’s uncle.

“Well, he was older. He was in his late sixties,” Bonhoff said. “So he was not well to begin with, so he was one of those if you’re gonna get it, you know. You go to the hospital and you’re not sorry you’re probably not coming home. So he was trying to do the right thing. Trying to stay home. Social distance.”

Dr. Deborah Birx, with the task force, said it’s important the younger generation gets tested.

“Thanks to the millennials who have been heeding our guidance,” Birx said during the briefing. “They have been coming forward and getting testing. Before, we told them to stay home. Now, we are telling them to be tested.”

The task force not only warned young people to take precautions. They gave them a responsibility to take care of at-risk people in their lives. For example, do the shopping for a grandparent.

And Gov. DeSantis said wearing a mask won’t make a big difference if people are having house parties. He says the key is changing behavior.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
Writer:Jack Lowenstein
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