There are still many doubts about COVID-19. However, among so many things that this new virus has caused, one of them is getting a little closer to understanding how Science works, specifically medicine and epidemiology (which could be considered a positive effect).
Despite the fact that nine months have passed since the first cases of the new coronavirus’s presence in humans were registered, many people, especially young people, continue to think that, if they become infected, nothing will happen beyond simple flu.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when there was a lower percentage of transmission among children, adolescents, and people under 25 years of age (as long as they were in good health), this belief seemed justified. For every thousand people infected with COVID-19 under 35, the average expected death is less than one. These data have given the impression that it does not matter if young people are infected.
But the truth is that it does matter, and it matters a lot. Throughout this year, the medical and scientific community has established as a consensus that those who have a higher risk of contagion are those with some comorbidity (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, COPD, etc.), who live in closed places with little ventilation, and those who do not follow sanitary measures (use of face masks, constant hand washing, keeping a healthy distance, etc.).
Two questions arising from this pandemic circulate among the younger population: How likely will it infect me? If I get infected, does it really matter? Perhaps these doubts have to do with the fact that the word death does not mean the same as the word risk.
Answering both questions is quite complicated, since there is not only one answer. We know that person-to-person contagion depends on many variables, which increases or decreases the risk depending on the health of the people, on the interaction, which in turn depends on the social dynamics in a group or community.
Although it is obvious to say it, it is not the same to live in countries that have guaranteed a universal basic income that allows people not to be forced to go out to work, than to live in a country where people live every day. Having your own space is not the same as sharing a small apartment with more people.