Saturday, September 19, 2020

Millennials and Gen Z are spreading coronavirus—but not because of parties and bars

A seated customer and server, ​at Magnolia Pancake Haus in Sa​n Antonio, Texas, Friday, May ​1, 2020, as they reopen amid t​he coronavirus pandemic at a r​educed capacity. Photograph by Christopher Lee, The New York Times via Redux

By Rebecca Renner
National Geographic

When it comes to Millennials and Generation Z—defined by the Pew Research Center as people born after 1982 and 1996 respectively—stories of crowded beach gatherings and house parties where guests try to infect each other with COVID-19 have made headlines. But those stories obscure the more complicated circumstances of people, such as Chen and his patient, shaped by economic and societal inequality. An August 18 briefing from the World Health Organization announced that people in their 20s, 30s, and 40s are now driving the virus’s spread, but that’s because most are just trying to do their jobs.

“In the past few decades, we’ve seen a shift in the economy toward more service jobs,” including retail, food service, hospitality, and childcare, says Sharon Sassler, a professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. “Young people in those service jobs are now at a greater risk of being exposed.” What’s more, emerging research is confirming what many experts have observed with natural disasters: economic vulnerability severely impairs a person’s ability to cope with catastrophe, and this burden falls heavily on younger generations.  Read more >>