By SELENE LAM | Intern
Every teenager wants to go out and party, especially with the recently perfect summer weather, but this behavior contributes to the spread of COVID-19.
As a teenager, I understand how hard it is to visualize the traumatic effects of this pandemic. Since the most vulnerable age group of COVID-19 is 65 or above, teenagers under 20 do not feel incentivized to obey stay-at-home orders. I completely relate with that mindset, and I have hung out with some of my friends, too.
However, many people are not obeying social distance and mask wearing protocols. All my social media platforms have been flooded with videos of large teen group hangouts.
Teens are having sleepovers with over 10 people, partying without masks and so much more. All of them are contributing to the spread of the virus.
It upsets me how my peers complain about their online school work, yet continue to come in close contact with others, which indirectly increases our time stuck with online school. Not only does this lower our chances of ever getting back to school, but it also puts others’ lives in danger.
I am currently participating in the Public Health Youth Leaders Program offered by the LA County Department of Public Health. I had the privilege to learn more about COVID-19 through interactions with Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the LA County Public Health director. I am writing in to share what I have learned to raise awareness on the severe consequences of this pandemic.
The Department of Public Health recently issued that COVID-19 has become the second leading cause of deaths within LA County. With over 3,400 deaths from January to June, COVID-19 has claimed more lives in Los Angeles County than Alzheimer’s disease.
Through July 31, Public Health has identified 188,481 positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of LA County and a total of 4,621 deaths.
To put these numbers in perspective, if a classroom has a maximum capacity of 30 people, imagine 184 classrooms full of COVID-19 deaths. LA county COVID-19 deaths equate to an entire high school population worth of deaths. This virus absolutely has to be taken seriously.
As part of the student council at Palisades Charter High School, we had already planned fun school events for our upcoming fall semester before the pandemic. We began planning for homecoming, prom and so much more.
With the pandemic going on, it is disappointing to learn how none of our work can be reflected in fall semester and enjoyed by the student body. No more exhilarating football games or Pali’s signature chocolate chip cookies for another half a year.
If we want to go back to school in the second semester, please keep a mask on at all times when gathering with friends. We do not need another virtual prom or graduation.
Our community, Pacific Palisades, has over 100 COVID-19 cases. We can stop the dramatic increase of COVID-19 cases by following CDC’s rules. Wearing a mask and socially distancing can go a long way.
I urge teens who are reading this to stop gathering without masks. COVID-19 does not care how young you are. You can get seriously sick or infect friends and family. Wear a mask, keep six feet apart, wash your hands and only gather with people you live with.
For more information, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/index.htm or covid19.lacounty.gov.
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