The U.S. Surgeon General is calling for celebrities and influencers to urge young people to stay indoors and heed warnings about the novel coronavirus after recently released data shows they might be at “higher risk” than previously believed.
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Surgeon General Jerome Adams told “Good Morning America” on Thursday that prominent figures, such as NBA stars and even billionaire businesswoman Kylie Jenner, could be instrumental in helping younger people understand the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak and the importance of taking the pandemic seriously.
“What I really think we need to do,” he said, “was get our influencers – Kevin Durant, Donovan Mitchell, we need to get Kylie Jenner – we need to get our social media influencers out there in helping folks understand, that look, this is serious.”
On Tuesday, Jenner tweeted to her 31.9 million followers, writing: "it’s so important right now to self quarantine to ensure we aren’t endangering ourselves or anyone who can’t handle this virus."
Adams made the plea just days after photos surfaced showing people, largely young adults, flocking to Florida beaches for their vacations and spring breaks.
He pointed to new information from Italy that indicates “young people may be at higher risk in different situations than what we previously thought.”
“Think about your grandmother, think about your grandfather,” he said. “Think about the fact that you’re spreading disease which could ultimately be what kills them.”
Italy’s COVID-19 spread is approximately 14 days ahead of the U.S., the outlet reported. As of 9:50 a.m. EST Thursday, Italy reported at least 35,713 confirmed cases, and 2,978 deaths. The U.S. has reported 9,415 cases and 150 deaths as of the same time, according to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine’s Coronavirus Resource Center.
“Every model you have has a best-case scenario and a worst-case scenario and unfortunately, right now, Italy looks like the worst-case scenario,” Adams said. “It’s why we are ringing the alarm, why we’re telling America to take this seriously.”