WASHINGTON -- The scientific community's message to young Americans about the coronavirus got more pointed on Tuesday: Stay out of bars.
"Don't get the attitude: 'Well, I'm young. I'm invulnerable,'" said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
Fauci said he too felt invulnerable when he was a young man, but he emphasized that young people need to help constrain the spread of the coronavirus by staying out of bars and restaurants.
"In some respects, you are certainly less vulnerable than I am," the 79-year-old Fauci said. "However, what you might inadvertently do - and I know you don't want to do that - you don't want to put your loved ones at risk, particularly the ones who are elderly and the ones who have compromised conditions. We can't do this without the young people cooperating."
Dr. Deborah Birx, who is coordinating the federal response to the virus, also highlighted the role that millennials, Americans born in the 1980s to mid-1990s, can play in stopping the spread of the virus.
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"We hear every night of people, who are not in work, moving that time into bars and other areas of large gatherings," she said. "If we continue with that process, we will fail in containing this virus."
"We are asking the younger generations to stop going out in public places - to bars and restaurants - and spreading asymptomatic virus onto countertops and knobs and grocery stores and grocery carts."
She said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines ask younger generations to use social media, phones and videos to support older Americans, who are being asked to stay at home. She noted that some stores have started having "senior" shopping times - a practice that she said could help reduce the annual death toll from the flu.
The coronavirus has infected more than 190,500 people worldwide and killed more than 7,500 with more than 80,500 recovered.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three weeks to six weeks to recover.
White House warning to millennials: Stay out of the bars during coronavirus pandemic