Teenagers Can Help Save the World – A Pediatricians Plea


What you do right now matters, and I want you to understand why. I’m a pediatrician and this is what I think you should know about COVID-19:

This virus is new

This strain of coronavirus, which causes a cold that can lead to pneumonia, didn’t exist before this winter. This is important because it means no one is immune.

It’s very contagious

It spreads like the command cold, or worse. It lives in snot and spit. It lives on metal and plastic surfaces (your phone case, public railings, etc.) for DAYS

It’s deadly

About 1% of all people who get it die. That’s 1 in 100, in case this lack of school has you slipping on your math skills.

There’s a good chance you’ll catch it

Current estimates are that about half of all the people in the world will get conronavirus this year. People, that’s 1 in 2. That’s like either you or your best friend.

You’ll probably be fine – but

When you catch it you might not even notice. Most people with the virus don’t get super sick. In fact, some people, especially young people, get infected and don’t feel a thing. Sigh of relief, right?

Wrong! – You are a virus making machine

When you catch the virus it uses YOU to reproduce. The virus turns your nose into a virus-making machine, so you’ll spread it without even knowing it.

This isn’t about you, but those you can save

This is mostly about the older people; your grandma, your friend’s grandma, the nice lady at the coffee shop that makes your chai. It’s also about people with asthma, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

When these folks get COVID-19, it’s much more likely to turn into severe pneumonia. The infection goes for their lungs, and then gets worse until they can’t breath.

Hospitals can help, but need you too

Many of those people but here’s the thing: Hospitals can’t help if everyone gets sick at once. There literally is not enough room. And there aren’t enough beds, nurses, masks, test, medicines, ventilators and oxygen tanks to go around. If everyone gets sick at the same time, we’re in big trouble.

This is how you can help:

  • Stay away from people
  • Stay home. Don’t become a walking virus reproduction center
  • Do your part, buy us some time

Staying home won’t stop the virus (because you’re going to have to go out eventually), but if we slow it down, we can catch up. Do your part, buy us some time. People, do you hear me? I’m giving you the best excuse to stay home and do nothing. If there were ever a time to rock your introvert side, it’s not. Do that and save lives!