Paulina Gonzalez Calle, 54 (audio story included)

Paulina Gonzalez Calle, a 54-year-old housewife living in Quito, Ecuador, blames much of the virus’ spread on the youth.

“I think the youth today is selfish,” she says. “If it isn’t me first, me second, me third, then the rules bother them,” she said. “I see it in the news, I saw a report from the United States about some kids, I saw others in Italy. The youth today isn’t very responsible about the importance of what adults are looking at what’s going on.”

Ignorance of coronavirus warnings has also plagued the South American country Gonzalez Calle calls home. As of last Thursday, Ecuador had the second-highest number of cases and deaths from coronavirus in Latin America after Brazil. The government has issued curfews, suspended classes and placed restrictions on transit, among other things, to prevent the spread of disease. (Also last week, a top court sentenced the country’s former president, Rafael Correa, to eight years in jail in absentia for corruption.)

However, young adults continue to congregate, as they have in parts of South Florida. Gonzalez Calle said her two daughters, ages 21 and 23, underestimated the virus at first and took part in outings. “In the beginning they went out, they went to meet with their friends, they went to birthdays,” said Gonzalez Calle. “Now they’ve taken a bit more interest in the matter, but in the beginning, they didn’t take it seriously.”

Gabriella Pinos is a senior at Florida International University majoring in broadcast media, with a minor in business communication and social media and e-marketing. She is currently the opinion director for PantherNOW, FIU's student-led newspaper. She has previously interned at WPBT South Florida PBS and the FIU Healthy Living Program. Gabriella currently lives in Miami and plans to become a multimedia journalist after she graduates.