The Role of Youth in Combating COVID-19

Youths, famed for restiveness and ambitions that challenge societal norms are increasingly being pressured to morph and significantly adapt to a new world order intra-COVID. Disruptions in the social space which hitherto had been the playing field for the young continue to mount significant pressure on the youths to rise to the responsibility of instilling health and safety consciousness within other players in this social space.

World case figures continue to rise and with it are rising mortality figures. Statistics from the Worldometer website1, a website dedicated to tracking global coronavirus figures showed a total of 5,054,329 cases and 327,938 deaths with an additional 71,392 new cases. 

These are not financial figures; they are indeed human lives both those already lost to the disease and those up on a balance. If irresponsibility and restiveness had been the hallmark of youthful living, indeed these are not good times for such irresponsibility.

Given that all youths are not medical personnel and thus not all part of the Frontline workers, it is without an iota of doubt that the duty of maintaining utmost sanity behooves every one of them. The nagging question will remain, “what can I do?” The first counter-question to lead to a possible answer will be, what do you have in your hands? If youths back away on the grounds of being young and needing the most help then they will be missing out on an all-important role they can be playing now.

To take the question out of the realm of being rhetorical, youths have cell phones, intellect, voices, and for some, a relatively good cash base. These times of global emergency require incredible amounts of learning and relearning. Those thought hitherto to be wise have turned out to be truly unwise. Whatever had fueled foolishness at this time will be a subject of future discussions. 

Fear as a formidable force can fuel varying forms of reactions in people and hence will be made to bear the remarkable brunt for the spike in social illiteracy at this time. The rise of conspiracy theories with the emergence of this pandemic with massive numbers of individuals kowtowing without due diligence to proposed assumptions has been particularly worrisome.

The wave of conspiracy theories seems at least to have waned but the youths will continue to play an indispensable role within their social space to teach and debunk with simple reasons the myths around these theories. This will be achieved through engaging persons privately and over the internet space, and while doing this must remember that the hold of ignorance takes remarkable time and love to dispel. With this in mind, faith and resolve to make a significant difference will remain at an all-time high.

Furthermore, conspiracies and the need to be armed to the teeth and ready for them will have greater benefits soon. Theorists are certainly not done and though the 5G theory seems to have abated, a new wave is expected at the time of vaccine release and use. Having made first phase progress in vaccine responsiveness in selected healthy individuals we can say that our redemption is closer than when we first believed.

But conspiracy theorists wouldn’t let the success and progress of vaccine development, deployment, acceptance, and use be a walk in the park. Certainly, we are going to witness tales about how the vaccine would kill, maim, or become an anti-Christ; agenda all to engender social strife. Hence, youths must be ready to combat this anticipated wave of ignorance to a rapid halt when it rears its head.

Even with the easing of lockdown situations globally, youths are to encourage by example other natural defaulters by adhering to laid down safety measures themselves. By this serving as poster persons in a world of natural disobedience to laws.

The economic toll of the COVID-19 cannot be understated and the youths must also take up roles to help in this regard. These are certainly not times to make giving a thing for the media or public cynosure as it has indeed become a basic element of goodwill and the youths must do all within their power at this time to give off their little to help the ailing persons and families around them. 

These acts will come under each youth’s social responsibility and will serve as a stimulus to positioning each youth for greater societal relevance. Quite corporately, youths can pool funds in bits and pieces to assist the needy at this point but this must be done with verifiable individuals and organizations who are willing to be accountable and to be held so.

More than the ambits of time will allow, it is necessary to remember that youths can be agents of hope at this time. Spreading hope and encouragement from the Frontline health personnel and support staff to the ordinary’s person on the street who seem unable to make sense out of how the world in a snap has turned on its head.

The role to be played and work to be accomplished is enormous and will indeed vary across societal placing and positioning and hence any form of passive inactivity wouldn’t spell beauty nor hope for a generation of men and women tipped to take over the reins of cross-sectorial leadership globally.

There is a true necessity to test out wits at these times. The world now and after now will not remain the same in its operation but our true legacy lies in the considerable goodwill we created while the world seemed to have spurn away from its anchoring centre 

This article was written by Ibeleme Okezie who is a content writer at The Young Leaders Council.

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