Surgeon general calls on Kylie Jenner to help combat coronavirus outbreak

Jerome Adams is soliciting support from Kylie Jenner and other 'influencers' in helping young people understand the seriousness of the coronavirus.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams and Kylie Jenner. (Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Image and George Pimentel/Getty Images)

Surgeon General Jerome Adams is soliciting support from Kylie Jenner and other “influencers” in helping young people understand the seriousness of the coronavirus.

“What I really think we need to do (is) get our influencers,” Adams said on Good Morning America. “We need to get Kylie Jenner and social media influencers out there, in helping folks understand that look, this is serious, this is absolutely serious. People are dying.”

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Adams also hopes to get infected NBA ballers Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell involved in sharing the dangers of the disease and push against the cavalier way some young adults are responding to the virus. He said these stars, whom some teenagers and twenty-somethings look up to and try to emulate, might be more effective at reaching them.

And Adams says he has proof: when he tries to persuade his own teenagers, who are 14 and 15, usually “the more I tell them not to do something, the more they want to do it,” he said.

This demographic is important, Adams said, because young people are more apt to both get sick and spread COVID-19 to their older family members, including parents and grandparents.

“We are seeing new data from Italy that suggests that young people may be at higher risk than what we previously thought,” Adams said. “But think about your grandfather, think about your grandmother, think about the fact you’re spreading disease that could ultimately be what kills them.”

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Young people are also more apt to ignore quarantine.

In other news, Adams said yesterday that the Trump administration’s recommendation for Americans to practice social distancing for 15 days is “likely not enough time” to stop the coronavirus from spreading.

“Fifteen days is likely not going to be enough to get us all the way through,” Adams said in an interview on the Today show.

But he added that social distancing will become increasingly important to “flatten the curve.”

“We really need to lean into it now so that we can bend the curve in the next 15 days, and at that point, we’ll reassess,” Adams said. “If we can get America to pitch in for the next 15 days, we can flatten the curve.”

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