High school students ask Americans to 'listen to scientists' and 'stay home'


'A lot of people who could lose their lives will be thanking you,' the New Hampshire High School Democrats said in a video encouraging everyone to stay home during the coronavirus crisis.

Donald Trump has repeatedly lied and downplayed the impact of the coronavirus crisis, but a group of high school students is determined to remind young people that the threat from the outbreak is real and that they can do their part to save lives.

On Sunday, the New Hampshire High School Democrats released a video encouraging young people — and everyone else — to just stay home.

"Social distancing, or limiting your interactions with other people and avoiding public gatherings, will save real lives during this COVID-19 crisis," members of the group say in the video. "You may feel fine, but you still could be carrying what to many is a very deadly virus."

The group recommended that people spend their time at home reading a book, learning to play a musical instrument, hanging out with family, or watching Netflix.

"Stay home. A lot of people who could lose their lives will be thanking you," the group added.

The teenagers decided to make a video because "students haven't been too keen on listening to what's going on with the virus, as well as with their adult counterparts," Lily Coady, communications director for the group, said during a Monday interview conducted over Zoom. "Not everyone is taking it as seriously as they need to."

The message was simple. "Do the right thing, listen to scientists, and stay home," Coady said.

In the same interview, when asked about Trump's response to the pandemic, Asma Akbar, chair of the student group, said that the United States "was not prepared from the start."

Coady said the country should be doing more to curb the outbreak.

"I would love to do more than what Italy did when they were in our place, even get a little bit stricter so we don't end up with the crisis that they're having," she said.

Whereas Trump gave himself a 10 out of 10 for his handling of the crisis, Coady holds the president to a higher standard.

"Let's think about what he's done so far," she said, "which is not that much." She did give him credit for belatedly calling the crisis a national emergency and settled on a score of three out of 10.

Both Coady and Akbar criticized Trump's repeated use of the racist term "China virus" to describe the new coronavirus, a term that health officials and Asian American leaders have said is exacerbating discrimination against Asians and Asian Americans.

Looking ahead, Akbar said the groups would focus on digital organizing instead of on the traditional canvassing and door-knocking that are usually a part of political campaigns.

The group is thinking about conducting a digital summit in May with other New England state chapters of High School Democrats of America, since large in-person gatherings are no longer allowed.

Considering Trump's chances of being reelected in 2020, Coady said that his handling of the pandemic "might have an effect on the election in November because Trump has defunded so many resources that could be useful during this crisis."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.