Studies showed that children have a lower risk of contracting the novel coronavirus compared to older adults and people with weak immune systems. However, health experts recommend that parents ensure kids and teens understand social distancing and stay-at-home measures to avoid COVID-19.
Children love to go out and socialize. But it is important to keep them home or at least reduce their interactions outside amid the pandemic despite having a low risk of coronavirus infection.
Young people could still get infected and possibly spread the virus to more vulnerable people, like their grandparents and other family members with already compromised immune systems. Parents should help kids practice social distancing and stay healthy to avoid COVID-19.
It may not be the best time to have play dates, hang outs and birthday parties. But a health expert said children could still spend some time outside to stay physically active as long as they maintain good hygiene.
“It’s very important for children to get exercise and there’s very little risk from playing outside and someone who may have had the disease having passed by at some point in the future,” Dr. Arvind Venkat, of Allegheny Health Network, told WCVB-TV. “This disease seems to be transmitted by what we call droplets as opposed to airborne transmission. And that means you need relatively close contact and it needs to be in and in a short period of time.”
Some parents may have been struggling to explain to their kids the importance of social distancing. Venkat said that they should be “direct and truthful” when talking to children about the COVID-19 pandemic.
He suggested that parents highlight that the coronavirus affects everybody. Children should know alternative ways to socialize with their friends, such as FaceTime and other tools that could help them stay connected.
It is also important that kids and teens understand even family members could expose them to COVID-19, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, of the University of Kansas Health System.
“I know it’s your family members or your good friends,” she said. “You love them, but we don’t know who is having contact with who when they are outside of your household.”
More Children Infect In U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in early April that only 2,500 of all confirmed cases in the U.S. were kids. However, a new study shows that the reported cases may be far lower than the real number of infected children.
The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, estimates that for every one child hospitalized with a severe case COVID-19, there are 2,318 young patients with the coronavirus. Researchers said the actual number of infected children in the U.S. in March alone was probably already more than 176,100.
The number may continue to rise without effective social distancing measures and a vaccine. There could be more than three million children with COVID-19 across the country by the end of 2020, the study shows.