The world woke up today to the dreadful news of coronavirus claiming 368 lives in a span of 24 hours in Italy. Worldwide, over 153,000 people have so far been infected by COVID-19, with 5,800 deaths. Since the death rate in elderly people is significantly higher for COVID-19, as compared to younger people, many have labelled coronavirus as “boomer remover”. For a generation living in constant fear of their well-being, it is almost cruel to be reminded of the fate this pandemic is conferring upon their age group.

SOME TAKEAWAYS:

  • Coronavirus has been labelled “boomer remover” due to the high mortality rate among elderly people.
  • While generations have their ideological differences, the aged certainly do not need a reminder right now about the menace of coronavirus.
  • The “boomer remover” approach is also indicative of how a lot of youngsters do not understand the gravity of the situation.
  • Our world could use some compassion and positivity in such distressing times. But do we have it in us to provide that for those in need?

For a generation living in constant fear of their well-being, it is almost cruel to be reminded of the fate this pandemic is conferring upon their age group.

Twitter is full of memes and messages calling coronavirus “just a boomer remover”. For those who do not know, Baby boomers is a term used for people born between the years 1946 to 1964. This post World War 2 generation (or post-Independence generation in context with India) is known for its high birth-rate. Since most people suffering from grave consequences in coronavirus outbreaks are these elderlies, thus the term boomer remover. Who are behind the coining of this term? Millennials; or as baby boomers christened them – the snowflakes. This clash of terms is nothing but two ideologies prevalent in two age groups getting back at each other.

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And that is clear in tweets like this: “Boomers are nominating a candidate who will ensure younger Americans never receive a real healthcare system or a viable planet, but those young people hurting their feelings with “boomer remover” jokes is obviously the real hate crime.” However, there are many who have strongly criticised this terminology, as another Twitter user wrote, “I don’t care what your age is. Referring to the coronavirus as the “boomer remover” is not cool; it is cruel.”

In such dark times, bitter humour like this is both hurtful and hostile. Agreed that there are ideological differences between the two generations but calling coronavirus boomer remover is akin to standing outside someone’s window and running your index finger across your throat with an evil smile on your face. Would you like someone to do that to your parents or grandparents? This phrase is also indicative of how a lot of young people are not taking coronavirus infection seriously. It is something that affects older people. Why should they bother to isolate themselves? Why must they stop living their life or maintaining recommended personal hygiene?

Calling coronavirus boomer remover is akin to standing outside someone’s window and running your index finger across your throat with an evil smile on your face.

Firstly, high mortality among elderly people doesn’t mean that young people are absolutely safe. Secondly, infected people showing no symptoms may spread the disease as carriers for this virus too. And thirdly, if you have no empathy for boomers in general, at least think about your loved ones who are old. Our grandparents, parents, uncles, aunts, etc., are all currently in the high-risk group. They are anxious, courtesy all the media coverage and panic. If they are on social media, they know that coronavirus is being called boomer remover. One can only imagine what it must be doing to their mental well-being.

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Why, despite being a millennial, who blames boomers for a lot of current global and local issues like overpopulation, unemployment, climate change, etc, do I feel so? Because I am living with two sixty-plus people. It is painful to watch the news with them, where this point is repeatedly emphasised that older people, are at a much higher risk. Just this morning when my husband told the mother-in-law to not step out of the house to buy grocery, and hand him the list instead, she asked, “Because I am over sixty?” This seemingly routine interaction left me a little stunned. They know their position.

What elderlies across the globe need isn’t indifference or slick jibes. They need empathy, compassion and motivation to keep living their lives outside the shadows of panic. The question however is, do we have those virtues in us?

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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