For the last three days, Ontario has registered a total of 368 new cases of COVID-19. A report released by the health officials in Ontario indicate that over 50 percent of the COVID-19 cases are people under 40 years of age.
While this rapid rise of coronavirus among young people may appear alarming in Canada, an expert in psychology believes this scenario is not surprising — and ultimately comes down to their need to build social networks. Steve Joordens, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough, said the rise is not really surprising and explained it using the “optimal arousal theory,” which suggests that everyone enjoys a certain amount of social activity in their lives. Still, a lack of these interactions can build up among people.
Additionally, the psychology professor said when people have months of being at home, they crave for some social interactions with other people. He said it was particularly true of young people for whom they’re in the stage of their life where building the social networks they would rely on for their entire life, and it was really where their minds often focused. Besides, he said increased alcohol consumption among younger people contributed to those figures.
The working conditions of the younger population are another factor that Joordens pointed out, which led to increased cases. According to him, many of the young people work in the service industry or in retail, which is gradually reopening and might give them a sense of security.
On the contrary, Joorden said the older adults most likely do not have a higher urge for socialization because they have already formed long-term romantic friendships and relationships. Hence they are more likely to wait before socializing.