GVSU health expert: Too many people not social distancing, public health students are 'advocates for their generation' 

Photo of two students communication through Facetime.
A Grand Valley student sitting in her car in a parking lot, chats with a friend via FaceTime.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts
Ranelle Brew, chair and associate professor of public health.
Ranelle Brew, chair and associate professor of public health.
Image Credit: Amanda Pitts

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase locally and across the country, a GVSU public health expert said social distancing needs to be taken seriously, especially by the younger population.

Ranelle Brew, chair and associate professor of public health, said there is a misunderstanding that the virus is only a problem for the older population.

"Sometimes those who are younger tend to think, 'It won't happen to me,' but young people are not exempt, as we've seen," explained Brew. "People need to stop socializing and comply with recommendations in order to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Brew said this includes avoiding getting together with groups of friends and family members. A new Harris Poll survey shows 89 percent of Americans said they are still going to coffee shops.

Brew said people need to be reminded that many people with coronavirus will never have symptoms but are still contagious.

"I am so impressed with our public health students. I see they are discouraging their friends from gathering at each other's homes," she said. "This is what we've trained our students for — to be on the front lines. They are serving as advocates for their generation."

Brew said even with preventive measures in place, it will take a while for the number of coronavirus cases to level out. She said self-isolation and social distancing can cause loneliness, so embrace technology that offers safe communication.

She added that there is an urgent call for blood donations after area blood drives were canceled. She said healthy people can donate safely by going directly to the American Red Cross.

For GVSU information on COVID-19 visit gvsu.edu/coronavirus