The government has been widely criticised for shifting the blame on young people – just weeks after encouraging them to get out and help reinvigorate the economy.
Boris Johnson told his Cabinet today that ministers must ensure there is “no complacency” among the public, and particularly young people, after a rise in coronavirus infections.
Mr Johnson’s official spokesman said: “The Prime Minister cautioned that in other countries which had seen an increase in infections this was followed a number of weeks later by a rise in hospitalisations.
“The PM said that what had taken place elsewhere was that young people had gone on to infect older generations that had become seriously ill, and it was vital to ensure that did not happen here.
“The Prime Minister said the Government must remain extremely vigilant and ensure that there was no complacency from the public and young people in particular in following the guidance on how to prevent the virus from spreading.”
But the stance has been widely criticised on social media, particularly following moves to get the demographic in question out spending.
A tweet posted by Matt Haig went viral shortly after the announcement, while others were quick to make note of the “blame shifting”.
Hard agree with this. The blame shifting is incredible.— Ella Alexander (@ella__alexander) September 8, 2020
Alice Hope, a 24-year-old public engagement coordinator in Didcot, Oxfordshire, also spoke out on the matter.
“There are so many different problems with comparing data across the pandemic,” she told The Guardian. “Previously the government was looking at people with serious symptoms and those dying in hospital, even though there were probably plenty of young people at the time who may have had it but couldn’t get tested.
“The government has actively encouraged people to socialise, and being less vulnerable surely young people have been best placed to re-stimulate the economy? Also, house parties and other such gatherings are only being attended by a minority. This is a time for unity, and unfairly reprimanding young people will only lead to fewer people following the guidance.”