“From hot summer to everyone has COVID”: dashed hopes for young people

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Entire groups of friends fell ill after parties, nightclubs, raves, festivals, or dinner parties: the end-of-year calendar items they most expected. In young people vaccinated, the infection has generally been mild.

But days or weeks of isolation, canceled events, lack of time for parties, and general uncertainty about the right thing to do – after all, nightclubs and festivals are still allowed to operate – frustrated a group that has already lost two years at the peak of their social life.

“It feels like it’s gone from zero to 100 in two weeks: it’s gone from hot summer vax to everyone having COVID,” said Lucy Kearney, 26.

A week before Katz’s unfortunate birthday event, Kearney and her Newtown roommates Sam Lonergan-Stewart, 26, and Caitlin Xu-Glassop, 27, spent eight hours dancing at a rave in Rozelle before leaving around 6 a.m.

It was “an all night, in the deep hours of the folding morning sort of thing,” according to Lonergan-Stewart, and one of their first big nights since Sydney was locked up in June. “It was like a new experience because we had been locked out for so long. When you were there I felt like you were still getting used to going out, ”Kearney said.

Sam Lonergan-Stewart, Lucy Kearney and Caitlin Xu-Glassop spent Christmas in self-isolation at their sharehouse in Newtown after they all caught COVID during a rave.Credit:Flavio Brancaleone

But it ended up costing them and many others their Christmas celebrations when it became a widespread event. After days of confusion and delays in testing, all three roommates tested positive for COVID-19.

“It was the week before Christmas and we were absolutely devastated – we were isolated for the first week of what had seemed like summer all year round. We had planned a big party, a few concerts that we wanted to go to, getting ready for Christmas, ”said Xu-Glassop.

Their savior was an inflatable pool for children delivered by a friend that they used every day after work, given their relatively mild symptoms, and they were to be released from isolation on Christmas Day.

But the future of this summer is still pending. “I’m pretty worried about going to sites now. In our circle of friends, so many people get sick or isolate themselves that it will be at least a few weeks before we actually do things as a group and go to theaters in large numbers, ”said Lonergan- Stewart.

Several young people in their twenties found themselves abandoning their sharehouses and returning to their parents to escape the worst of the infectious wave. Hannah Atkin, 23, said many of her friends who traveled interstate for Christmas decided not to come home until after the New Year or the start of college to avoid the outbreak.

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Those who will not be sick or isolated over the New Year are now wondering what to do. After last year’s New Years Eve plans were scaled back to gatherings of five at the last minute, thousands of people eager for a proper celebration this year have booked tickets to parties or festivals. .

Atkin, she and her friends had bought tickets for the NYE in the Park festival. “We don’t know whether or not we should go because of the risks of being at such a big event,” she said.

Xu-Glassop is hopeful the events won’t be canceled, and she and her roommates firmly believe that wearing masks and QR recordings should stay if the trade-off is that the rest of life can go relatively smoothly.

“I would be really disappointed if things were called off again. We worked so hard during the lockdown, ”she said. Kearney agrees. “The last thing we want is a disappointing summer,” she said. “It was the shining beacon that we all looked forward to during the lockdown. “

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