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A Gen Zer who contracted the coronavirus during his spring break says the White House's response to the pandemic is one of the main reasons why people aren't taking it seriously

Business Insider logo Business Insider 4 days ago Dominic-Madori Davis
a man standing in front of a building © Max Schulman
  • Max Schulman, a junior at Vanderbilt University, contracted the coronavirus while on spring break in Barcelona, Spain. He is now encouraging other spring breakers to start taking the virus seriously.
  • "The major thing that you can be doing to prevent the spread of this is social distancing, not going near anyone," Schulman told Fox News.
  • His interview comes as hundreds of Gen Zers took to the beaches in recent weeks, despite warnings from officials that it could be dangerous as the coronavirus continues to spread.
  • "I am a senior and booked this trip months ago," Gabby Porter, who was in Miami for spring break, told Business Insider. "Unfortunately, coronavirus is really serious and I understand the restrictions - it's just really sad."

A spring breaker who contracted the coronavirus while on vacation in Spain has some advice for those looking to still hit the beaches during this pandemic: "Act like you already have coronavirus in order to prevent its spread."

Max Schulman, a student at Vanderbilt University, contracted the virus while on vacation in Barcelona in early March, telling Fox News that "the spread wasn't as extensive [then] as it is right now." Still, he admitted that he wasn't "taking the threat that seriously" during his spring break, and is now encouraging others to understand the danger of this virus.

"The major thing that you can be doing to prevent the spread of this is social distancing, not going near anyone," he told Fox News. "I'm sort of an extreme case right now because I am totally quarantined, but you can spread this thing so easily just through a cough or sneeze or anything like that."

Schulman began his two-week quarantine on March 8 at his parents' house in New York with only mild symptoms. He told Business Insider that, as of March 22, his "initial quarantine period" was finished. Now, he says, he is in "limbo" waiting for guidance from the New York State Department of Health about what to do next.

"My experience, thank God, has been very lowkey," Schulman told Business Insider. "I had a 102 fever for two days and no other symptoms after that. Almost as soon as my fever went away, my physical condition returned to normal- I could focus on schoolwork, exercise in my room."

But, as Schulman noted, many others in his age group still aren't taking the virus seriously - like the vast number of spring breakers who still flocked to Florida in recent weeks, despite warnings from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Business Insider's Hillary Hoffower previously reported that Gen Zers like Jawontae Rodgers, a 21-year-old who spring breaked in Panama City Beach, don't think the virus is a "big deal." As more people began to hit the beaches, cities imposed restrictions, which some spring breakers, such as 21-year-old Gabby Porter, found to be "extremely upsetting" because "most students only get one spring break."

"I am a senior and booked this trip months ago," Porter, who was in Miami for spring break, told Business Insider. "Unfortunately, coronavirus is really serious and I understand the restrictions - it's just really sad."

As of Thursday morning, Spain has 56,188 reported cases of the coronavirus, while the United States has 68,905 reported cases.

Numerous beaches, such as those in Clearwater in Florida and South Padre Island in Texas, received backlash after videos of beachgoers packing the shores emerged on social media. Other beaches, such as those in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa, decided to completely close to the public; however, not all Florida beaches have followed suit.

a group of people on a beach in front of a crowd © Julio Cortez/AP Schulman told Business Insider that he believes the White House's response is one of the main reasons why people are not taking this crisis seriously

The college student pointed to the fact that President Donald Trump seemingly downplayed the threat of the virus for weeks until he changed his stance on the issue.

"[Trump] called [criticism of his handling of the coronavirus outbreak] a 'Democratic hoax' and has had this view parroted on outlets like Fox News. And now, even after his administration has taken action on the issue, Trump has violated epidemiologists' cautions about social distancing at his own press conferences," Schulman said.

"Calling for an end to restrictive measures by Easter is against the advice of health officials. There's a reason why Democrats are significantly more likely to take the threat seriously than Republicans," Schulman continued. "Democrats are listening to the CDC and state health departments while some Republicans are listening to Trump. People need to relax and do what I'm doing: listening to health experts and journalists acting in good-faith. They've got it right."

Video: Why you shouldn't judge yourself for having coronavirus anxiety (Provided by Business Insider) 

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