A spring-breaker is apologizing for "insensitive" comments he made about coronavirus while vacationing in Florida. Brady Sluder's remark — "If I get corona, I get corona ... I'm not going to let it stop me from partying" — went viral last week.
Sluder, who is from Ohio, wrote a remorseful post on Instagram on Tuesday, saying he'd like to "own up to the mistakes I've made and apologize to the people I've offended."
"I would like to sincerely apologize for the insensitive comment I made in regards to COVID-19 while I was on spring break," he said. "I wasn't aware of the severity of my actions and comments. Like many others, I have elderly people who I adore more than anything in the world and other members who are at risk, and I understand how concerning this disease is for us all."
He acknowledged in his post that the apology "doesn't justify my behavior." Sluder was one of several spring-breakers in Miami, interviewed by Reuters, who downplayed the virus and said it wasn't going to interfere with their fun.
"If I get corona, I get corona," Sluder said last week. "At the end of the day, I'm not going to let it stop me from partying. I've been waiting, we've been waiting for Miami spring break for a while. About two months we've had this trip planned, two, three months, and we're just out here having a good time."
Spring-breakers drew nationwide criticism for flocking to Florida beaches even as health officials pleaded with the public to practice social distancing to slow the spread of the virus. While many beaches are now closed, that decision may have come too late for some. The University of Tampa announced that five of its students, who were traveling together for spring break, tested positive for coronavirus; the university did not say where they had traveled.
U.S. public health officials are urging young people to pay attention to the warnings and practice social distancing — both to protect others, and because they are not immune form the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that 20% of coronavirus patients requiring hospitalization in the U.S. were between the ages of 20 and 44.