Coronavirus and the divide between young and old

The risk of contracting Covid-19 is much higher for older people. Photos of young people having a picnic in the park despite the pandemic are therefore triggering indignation. Some observers see coronavirus sparking a new generational conflict. But will the elderly really be worst hit? And isn't the crisis an opportunity to overcome the conflict?

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De Standaard (BE) /

Listen to each other, learn from one another

After the climate crisis the corona crisis is further widening the gap between young and old, warns 24-year-old journalist Charlotte Wollaert in De Standaard:

“Many millennials have believed for too long that the coronavirus doesn't harm them. And many boomers say climate change won't have consequences for them - which is why they aren't changing their behavior. ... But both millenials and boomers are wrong. Both crises affect us all, physically and financially. And we can only face both crises by working together. ... Can't we try to narrow the mental divide? In times of crisis, it's more important than ever to listen to each other, to learn from each other and to respect each other, even if we don't always understand each other.”

Népszava (HU) /

The crisis is bringing us together

A journalist at Népszava, Gábor Miklós belongs to the boomer generation and is moved by how people are offering to help him these days:

“Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I get the impression that I'm being watched. Even people I don't know are looking out for me. I'm a suspicious person by nature. But I trust the attention that people are paying to me, and that it is meant seriously. ... Perhaps the pandemic is melding the young and old who live here – and perhaps even around the world? - into one 'generation'. ... For the first time since Hungary has had this government, its propaganda is not only aimed at forbidding, giving orders, inciting hatred, stigmatizing and frightening people, but also calls on them to pay attention and take care of each other. Who knows, maybe some of this new attitude will remain later on.” (UA) /

Medieval morals

Olga Guzal, head of the company Camion Oil, is appalled in NV that many people are still holding back in the discussion about the consequences of the corona pandemic:

“Who will we be when all this is over? ... We are saying many things lightly now. The mortality rate is low, just two percent. ... We voice annoyance about overly drastic measures. ... Just three months ago we were sharing nutrition tips from Japanese who lived to be 112. ... And now we are saying, although quietly, that there is no big problem after all, because all this only affects the old and the sick. Have you really been listening? We live in a 21st-century economy with 22nd-century science and 16th century morals.”

Dagens Industri (SE) /

The future of the young is being destroyed

The younger generation is being made to bear the consequences of the corona crisis, Dagens Industri warns:

“Much of the work that goes into combatting the disease is currently being carried out by the young, while there are numerous examples of people over 70 ignoring the advice to stay inside. The solution cannot be that risk groups aren't willing to shoulder responsibility, while the looming economic depression ruins the young generation's chances. What sort of future awaits the young in the early summer of 2020 and the years to come? Will there be jobs? Or confidence? Politicians must make it their main task to ensure that the young generation is not left facing mass unemployment and a destitute welfare state. It is not only the older generation that is under threat.”