Brady Sluder, the spring breaker who infamously shrugged off the threat of COVID-19 during a TV interview last week, has apologized for the comments that put him in so many people’s crosshairs on social media.
“If I get corona, I get corona,” Sluder said at the time. “At the end of the day, I’m not going to let it stop me from partying.”
He was among tens of thousands of young people who descended on Miami for spring break, despite widespread efforts around the world to practise social distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The 22-year-old from Milford, Ohio, posted a lengthy apology on his Instagram account on Sunday, where he acknowledged that his comments were “insensitive” given the outbreak.
“I wasn’t aware of the severity of my actions and comments,” Sluder wrote. “I’d like to take the time to own up to the mistakes I’ve made and apologize to the people I’ve offended.”
Sluder added that he has elderly people in his life who he wants to protect, and he understands that the disease is a threat to everyone.
“Our generation may feel invincible, like I did when I commented, but we have a responsibility to listen and follow the recommendations in our communities,” he said.
He added that he wants to own up to his mistakes, and he knows that apologizing doesn’t justify his behaviour.
He declined to provide additional comment to the New York Times.
Sluder was the first of many young people CBS interviewed for the story last week.
“It’s really messing up (sic) with my spring break!” partygoer Brianna Leeder said at the time.
The viral video helped spawn a new label for those who ignore social distancing efforts: COVIDIOT.
It also spawned angry reactions on social media, where people accused the spring breakers of needlessly putting others at risk.
“All the kids are going to the beach, and celebrate (sic) and drunk and all that stuff. This is not a good idea,” Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a video posted on his Twitter account last week.
He urged everyone to follow orders and stay at home during the crisis.
“That means you, spring breakers,” he wrote.
The attention prompted many community leaders in Florida to tighten their local rules and close beaches for the lockdown effort.
A handful of students who attended spring break in Miami have since tested positive for the virus.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
—With files from The Associated Press