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One of the United States largest generations is now starting to be heavily affected by the COVID-19 virus. As the number of cases increases, millennial’s are constantly being encouraged to take the virus more seriously as this generation has an enormous influence on the course of the pandemic. Recently a healthy 26 year old was hospitalized after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and documents her encounter with the deadly virus.

“A few hours after deciding I would begin to socially distance for the well-being of others, I developed a fever and headache. I tried not to assume the worst, but just in case, my partner and I decided to sleep in separate bedrooms. By the next morning, I had a cough. On Sunday, I started to feel better and my fever was gone…That night I woke up in the middle of the night with chills, vomiting, and shortness of breath. By Monday, I could barely speak more than a few words without feeling like I was gasping for air,” she stated.

She was reluctant at first to go to the hospital with the fear of spreading the virus further or catching it if the symptoms she had been experiencing weren’t COVID-19. She was a healthy, 26 years old who worked out six times a week, and had no prior autoimmune or respiratory conditions. Her relatively healthy state would sure fight off whatever bug she had.

Her symptoms eventually worsened, which ultimately led to her hospitalization. Completely shocked at her diagnosis, she learned that she wasn’t the only young person being hospitalized for COVID-19. She was informed from hospital staff that more and more patients her age had been showing up to the hospital.

As the virus continues to spread, young people are becoming more at risk to catching it. As of March 16, 2020, the CDC reported that 508 people were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the U.S.  Out of this number, 38% were between the ages of 20 and 54 years old. More coronavirus infections among young adults could pose even more risk to older adults, who are still most likely to die.

The false belief that millennial’s are safe from COVID-19 needs to be put to rest. The reality is they aren’t and they are getting seriously ill from the virus. Social distancing is crucial to the health of vulnerable populations and millennial’s play a significant role in that. Not taking the pandemic seriously and not staying on top of CDC updates only contributes to the overall transmission of the virus. Quarantine shouldn’t be viewed as extended vacation time or a time to go out socializing with friends. It’s your opportunity to help contribute to the greater good of the world around you.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times

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