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Vanessa Hudgens apologizes for "insensitive" comments about coronavirus during Instagram live video

What can we learn from past pandemics?

Vanessa Hudgens came under fire Tuesday when she exhibited a blatant disregard for the severity of the coronavirus outbreak. In an Instagram live video, Hudgens told her followers she thought officials estimating the outbreak might last until July sounds like "a bunch of bulls***."

"It's a virus, I get it. Like, I respect it. But at the same time, like, even if everybody gets it, like, yeah, people are gonna die, which is terrible but, like, inevitable?" Hudgens said in her livestream.

The "High School Musical" actress had many people up in arms with her video. The Centers for Disease Control and other government officials are strongly encouraging people stay home and self-isolate to try and stem the virus' spread. In some areas, like parts of Northern California, isolation is more than a suggestion — it's an order, with a mandated shelter in place.

Bars, restaurants shut across U.S. over coronavirus concerns

Hudgens seemed to recognize her mistake, issuing a statement Wednesday on Twitter and posting an Instagram story. "I realized some of my comments are being taken out of context," Hudgens said.

"It's a crazy time. It's a crazy, crazy time and I am at home and in lockdown, and I hope that's what you guys are doing too, in full quarantine and staying safe and sane. Yeah, don't take this situation lightly — by any means," she said in the video.

On Twitter, Hudgens wrote that she was sorry for offending anyone and everyone who saw her Instagram live.

Hudgens' shallow take on coronavirus and her spread of misinformation on Instagram could do more harm than she might have anticipate — especially since her fan base of millennials could be crucial in stopping the spread of coronavirus.

As the number of confirmed cases in the U.S. climbed more than 4,300, the White House on Monday laid out new guidelines for Americans, urging everyone to avoid groups of 10 people or more. White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx spoke with "CBS Evening News" host Norah O'Donnell about the outbreak and why it is important to follow social distancing guidelines.

"We know that we have a large group of millennials between 25 and almost 40. They are really key to this. They're a social group. So that no more than 10 is very much focused on them to really say, even if you're home, don't have gatherings more than 10," Birx said.

White House coronavirus response coordinator on new guidelines

The goal of social distancing — which has resulted in the cancellation of concerts, sporting events, music festivals and other large gatherings — is to flatten the curve. Flattening the curve means preventing a spike in patients. The goal is to instead have a slower growth in the number of cases, so that hospitals don't get overwhelmed and they have more time and resources to care for all the sick patients.

In cities with a rapidly increasing count of coronavirus cases, like New York, practicing social distancing is critical. "We can flatten the curve even in New York, but the amount of behavioral change that it's gonna take — It's gonna take every American to sacrifice for one another," Bilx said.

Not only does social distancing prevent the spread to older, more vulnerable people, but it could save young people who may think they are healthy and invincible — but can still catch the virus.

"There are concerning reports coming out of France and Italy about some young people getting seriously ill, and very seriously ill in the ICUs," Birx said in a White House press conference Wednesday.

"We think part of this may be that people heeded the early data coming out of China and coming out of South Korea about the elderly or those with preexisting medical condition who are at particular risk, it may have been that the millennial generation...there may be disproportional infections among that group," Birx continued.

She again urged millennials to practice social distancing. "We need them to be healthy," she said.

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