01 April 2021

Letter to the young people of British Columbia

On Tuesday I sat down for an hour to crunch the CoViD case data, specifically to find out which age classes contribute to the CoViD infections in British Columbia above their fair share. When I was done, I sent the graph you see below to my wife with the words:

"Dare I suggest that young people just shut the fuck up and do as they are told."

My judgement did not sit well with me. There is something sinister about blaming a group -- think race, national origin, colour, age, sex, sexual orientation, disability, et cetera. It goes against my sense of peace, and justice, and human dignity. We all act as individuals, and none of us acts in a vacuum.

Moreover, accusing you of being careless about CoViD goes against my personal experiences. I rarely see any of you blatantly violating the three W-s (Wear a mask, Watch your distance, Wash your hands), and we all forget some of the things some of the time. If anything, you seem to be more careful than I am, and I am careful.

Apart from that, I would not blame you for being uncooperative: We have left you with a planet in ruins, an education system that is joke, and an economy that is a war zone.


But the data speak for themselves. Your age classes have contributed to the CoViD infections in British Columbia above your fair share for a long time now. And while I believe that many of you are abiding by the rules, many of you are not.

(In crime a few very bad eggs can commit the majority of violations. In CoViD infection this is not the case. There is the possibility that you are more susceptible, but I have not seen evidence for that.)

What I think is going on is that you are doing something stupid when I do not see you. And it is up to you to figure out what that something stupid is and stop doing it.

I know, I know, infectious disease prevention is utterly unheroic, because the lives you protect, the economic losses you avert, the time you save us all to return to normality cannot be measured easily. Prevention seems nothing compared to the lifesaving actions of our frontline personnel. But prevention is all we can do. So, get your CoViD act together.


But you may argue that your sacrifices will be in vain, because your friend, classmate, cousin, co-worker, et cetera, continues to be CoViD stupid. So, stop your friend from being CoViD stupid. This is not rocket science. Find a way.

Let us bring CoViD behind us as quickly as possible, and then I hope you will fight us again on the real issues we old people have ruined for you.

Michael Baumann

#getyourCoViDacttogether, #stopyourfriendfrombeingCoViDstupid