At least one person in Kentucky has become infected with COVID-19 after attending a "coronavirus party" held by a group of people in their 20s who apparently sought to defy social distancing orders. Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Tuesday that the state's number of confirmed coronavirus cases had grown by 39, bringing the total to 163. He urged residents to think of others and not be so "callous" as to intentionally risk exposure to a virus that has proven to be deadly.
"We still have folks not following the recommendations and that ultimately hurts all of us," Beshear said Tuesday in his daily COVID-19 briefing. "We have a positive case today from someone who attended a 'coronavirus party.' And this is the part where I, the person who tells everyone to be calm has to remain calm myself, because anyone who goes to something like this may think that they are indestructible but it's someone else's loved one that they are going to hurt."
While early data on COVID-19 cases in China suggested the virus didn't cause young people to experience the same severe symptoms older adults faced, new data shows young people are being severely impacted by coronavirus as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an analysis of the then-confirmed 4,226 coronavirus cases in the United States as of March 16 found that of the 2,449 patients with known ages, 29% were 20 to 44 years old. Of the 12% of patients who'd required hospitalization, 20% were aged 20 to 44. In New York, a hot spot for the virus, data from City Hall officials noted that more than a quarter of COVID-19-related hospitalizations were patients aged 18 to 50, The City reported.
Beshear said Tuesday that the people behind the "coronavirus party" were all reportedly in their 20s. "The only information we have on this 'coronavirus party is it was a group of young adults in their 20s, I guess thinking that they were invincible, flaunting the gatherings as mass gathering prohibition," Beshear said. He cautioned those with similar beliefs to think beyond themselves and consider the risk their actions might bring to others in their community.
"For those folks who thought, 'oh, we'd probably be alright if we get it,' what about everybody else that you've talked to or seen?" he asked. "What about the other person there thinking it couldn't happen to them that went and talked to their grandparent or maybe your grandparent? This is just something we can't do."
While noting that he understood the difficulties and hardships social distancing places on people. Beshear went on to stress the importance of collective community action. "We are battling for the health and even the lives of our parents and our grandparents," he said. "Don't be so callous as to intentionally go to something and expose yourself to something that can kill other people. We ought to be much better than that."
Despite his anger and frustration at the coronavirus partygoers, Beshear told reporters Tuesday that he would work to maintain the infected-individual's privacy. "That person who made a mistake, made a mistake," he said. "It's not something that ought to follow them their entire life. But I do hope it encourages others to act differently."
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.