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Young adults who identify as Republicans eschew COVID safety precautions

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Young Californians who identify themselves as Republicans are less likely to follow social distancing guidelines that prevent coronavirus transmission than those who identify as Democrats or Independents, according to new USC study published today in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The findings among 18- to 25-year-olds mirror what many have observed about America’s politicized response to COVID-19, and are a source of alarm for . The United States is now averaging 207,000 new cases and 2,319 deaths per day, as of Friday.

“You might expect middle-aged or to have established ideologies that affect their , but to see it in who have historically been less politically inclined is unexpected,” said Adam Leventhal, director of the USC Institute for Addiction Science. “Regardless of age, we would never hope to find results like this. Public health practices should not correlate with politics.”

The study was conducted during the summer of 2020 via an that was completed by 2,065 18- to 25-year-olds living predominately in Los Angeles County. The participants were initially recruited as ninth-grade high school students as part of the USC Happiness & Health Project, which has been surveying this group about their behaviors every six months since 2013.

Of the young adults contacted, 891 identified as Democrat, 148 as Republican, 320 as “Independent or Other,” and 706 declined to answer or said they didn’t know what they identify with.

Researchers found that 24.3% of Republican young adults said they don’t frequently social distance from others, compared with just 5.2% of Democrats.

Differences in social distancing practices were also found when Republicans were compared to Independents and young adults who did not report a political party affiliation. Researchers discovered that Republicans versus other groups

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Diagnosed when pregnant: A young mom’s breast cancer story

Ashli Brown of Chicago was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2019 at age 29, when she was six months pregnant.

I was about 24 weeks pregnant when I felt a lump in my left breast. I figured it was just some weird pregnancy thing, but I mentioned it to my obstetrician [a doctor who focuses on pregnancy and childbirth] at my next checkup. She said I definitely needed an ultrasound. So, I got an ultrasound, a mammogram, and then a biopsy. I knew I had breast cancer from the reaction on the radiologist’s face, even before I got the call confirming it the next day.

“Have the courage, even if it’s hard, to speak up to your doctor about what you’re feeling and make sure you’re being listened to.”

– Ashli Brown

The first two weeks, as we waited for further information, were pretty terrifying. None of my family has had cancer, so this was something we never expected.

The doctor told me I had stage II invasive ductal carcinoma. I had three tumors, one large and two very small. My first course of action was to go to Northwestern University, where they assembled a team of doctors for me.

Because I was so far along in my pregnancy, they didn’t want to do surgery yet, but they did want me to do three rounds of chemotherapy. I didn’t even realize you could do that, but my doctor said they had 20 years of research showing it was safe for the baby. By my ninth month I was bald—I looked like an alien experiment gone wrong—but I made it to 40 weeks, which was amazing. They induced labor, and 24 hours later I gave birth to a perfectly healthy little boy.

Two weeks later, I started five more rounds of