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Americans Need To Get The Message And Start Distancing

It is difficult, frankly, to view people refusing to join the rest of us in attempting to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus as anything but spoiled brats. The vast majority of them appear to be young.

At least reports from our country, such as those of college students packing beaches for spring break, are relatively passive rejection of warnings about the disease. More disturbing and infuriating news is coming from abroad.

In Germany, young adults “hold ‘corona parties’ and cough toward older people,” The Associated Press has reported.

Other hard-hit countries report widespread failure to follow the disease containment rules — though not to the extent seen in Germany. Both France and Spain are having to use police to enforce bans on large gatherings.

As we have seen here, the situation sometimes requires government to intervene. Florida’s governor had to formally close the state’s beaches to clear them of partying college students.

COVID-19 is dangerous primarily to older people with underlying medical conditions. But, as public health officials point out, younger adults are far from immune. The disease strikes them, too.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo noted that half his state’s COVID-19 cases are in the 18-49 age group. “You’re not Superman and you’re not Superwoman,” he warned young people.

Containing COVID-19 is an imperative if we are to avoid the enormous death toll experienced in other countries. In Italy, where public health officials were slow to act, the death toll passed 5,500 during the weekend.

We hope all Americans — and it needs to be emphasized not all the scoffers are college-age — will get the message and stop engaging in risky behavior. If that does not occur, however, local, state and federal officials should not hesitate to use law enforcement to make social distancing stick.

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