It Turns Out Boomers Are Just as Concerned About Coronavirus as Everyone Else

Young folks and old people alike agree: it's bad

Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first US case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV, a coronavirus, March, 2020. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
Transmission electron microscopic image of an isolate from the first US case of COVID-19, formerly known as 2019-nCoV, a coronavirus, March, 2020. The spherical viral particles, colorized blue, contain cross-sections through the viral genome, seen as black dots. (Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images)
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By Bonnie Stiernberg / March 20, 2020 11:09 am

As social distancing and shelter-in-place orders continue to sweep the nation with public health officials attempting to stop the spread of coronavirus, there’s been some cross-generational bickering. Millennials and Gen Zers have expressed concern over their Boomer parents — many of whom are in the high-risk group for the virus — not taking the pandemic seriously, while footage of defiant young people carrying on with their spring break trips because they’re convinced they’ll live forever have ruffled feathers as well. But according to a new FiveThirtyEight report, it doesn’t appear that one generation is taking the virus less seriously than others.

The publication analyzed five polls taken in the past eight days and found that in each one, the majority of Americans in every age group said they were concerned that they or someone they knew would contract the virus.

The site notes that it was able to identify some generational differences in how people were reacting to the pandemic, but none that reflected a clear trend. “Of the five polls we looked at, two found an 11-point gap between the share of people in the oldest age group who said they were worried that they or someone in their family would catch the virus and the share of people in the youngest age group who said the same,” it reads. “(Around 65 percent of the oldest group in both surveys said they were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ concerned, while that number was just under 55 percent for the youngest group.) One poll found a 10-point gap in the opposite direction: 68 percent of the youngest age group said they were worried, while 58 percent of the oldest age group said the same. And two polls found smaller variations — one found that older respondents were about 7 points more likely to be worried, while the other found essentially no difference between the oldest and youngest groups.”

They did however, find evidence that younger generations are more concerned about possibly spreading the virus to someone else than older people seem to be, citing one poll in which two-thirds of 18-to-24-year-olds and 24-to-44-year-olds said they were worried about passing coronavirus on to others, while only 48 percent of respondents 65 and older said the same.

You read more about their findings here.

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