COVID-19 And Children

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Hi there my beautiful lovelies! I hope you all are doing well and staying safe. As a public health person, I constantly try my best to keep me updated about the latest research and findings in public health. That’s why when I saw the latest article by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital on COVID-19 and children, I was really concerned.

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The article, “Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses” has been published in the Journal of Pediatrics. The study looked at 192 children between the age of 0 to 22, with an average age of 10.2 years. This is the most comprehensive study of COVID-19 pediatric patients to date.  In this study, 49 children tested positive for COVID-19, and an additional 18 children had late-onset, COVID-19-related illness. The infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalized adults in ICUs for COVID-19 treatment, according to Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Mass General Hospital for Children (MGHfC).

Transmissibility or risk of contagion is greater with a high viral load. And even when children exhibit symptoms typical of COVID-19, like fever, runny nose and cough, they often overlap with common childhood illnesses, including influenza and the common cold. One of the interesting finding from the study is that half of the children with COVID did not have fever. Hence, contact less temperature check as a mean of screening children in school may not be effective.

According to the lead author of the study:

“… the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”

My dear lovelies, the reason I am mentioning this study is due the current debate about the reopening of schools, daycare centers and other locations with a high density of children and close interaction with teachers and staff members. According to Alessio Fasano, director of the Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center at MGH and senior author of the manuscript. “During this COVID-19 pandemic, we have mainly screened symptomatic subjects, so we have reached the erroneous conclusion that the vast majority of people infected are adults. However, our results show that kids are not protected against this virus. We should not discount children as potential spreaders for this virus.”

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Children has higher level of viral load, meaning they are more contagious, regardless of their susceptibility to developing COVID-19 infection. According to Harvard Medical School, As MGHfC pediatricians, both Yonker and Fasano are constantly getting questions from parents about the safe return of their children to school and daycare. They agree that the most critical question is what steps the schools will implement “to keep the kids, teachers, and personnel safe.” Recommendations from their study, which includes 30 co-authors from MGHfC, MGH, HMS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, include not relying on body temperature or symptom monitoring to identify SARS-CoV-2 infection in the school setting.

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Additionally, the researchers emphasized the relevance of infection control measures, including social distancing, universal mask use (when implementable), effective hand-washing protocols and a combination of remote and in-person learning. They consider routine and continued screening of all students for COVID infection with timely reporting of the results an imperative part of a safe return-to-school policy.

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As we debate about school reopening, our leaders should take this study into consideration. This is the most comprehensive study to date. We should all question our state representatives and leaders. Our children are not immune from coronavirus. Just today a six year old child has become the youngest victim of COVID in Florida. Let’s not put any more children and educators’ lives at risk. I urge you to demand your lawmakers to do the right thing. Let do this for the children who don’t have a voice of their own.

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Another Car Accident

Hi there my beautiful lovelies! Hope you all are doing well and staying safe. I wish I could say the same for myself. It’s hard for me to tell you that I have been in a car accident. I am grateful that I am alive but I just wanted to make everyone aware of safe driving.

You may have heard it many many times about the important of safe driving. However, what my accident has taught me is that you can never be too careful. The first one happened a year ago, when I was driving to work. I was turning left when a left turn sign turned green and a young woman with probationary licensed t-boned me at a high speed. What was sad is that I was driving my sister’s brand new car, with less than 300 miles on it. It ended up costing more than $7,000 to fix the car and I had to take short term disability from work and go through physical therapy. I am was in so much pain.

Last week, I was driving to work again early in the morning before 5 am. I was driving in the highway when a white pick-up came towards me at what felt like at least over 90 miles per hour. My lovelies! When you change lane you try to change lane far away from the car behind you, but the pick up was driving towards me at high speed. In order to avoid collision, I want on the HOV-2 lane. I truck did the same thing again. I again tried to move the shoulder lane. As soon as I moved to the shoulder lane, I don’t remember anything else. I guess I lost control and collided with the divider.

My cousin came to pick me up and my co-worker called, and they both said that my speech was slurred and I was incoherent. He cousin took me to his car, where I passed out for few minutes. My dear beautiful lovelies! Driving safe is very important to me. I lost a cousin to drunk driver. He was only 24 and had his whole life ahead of him. The drunk driver who killed him was driving with a suspended license.

I am writing about this because, I am passionate about any public health related cause. Average number of car accidents in the U.S. every year is 6 million. That’s more than 90 death everyday in car accidents.  Three million people in the U.S. are injured every year in car accidents, and around 2 million drivers in car accidents experience permanent injuries every year. Imagine the healthcare and human cost burden this create. My cousin was among the dead, and my parents, sisters (who were injured last year), and I are among the injured. The past two accident had a long term impact on my life.

My dear lovelies! I urge the following to every drivers out there. Please wear your seatbelt, drive sober, and within the speed limit. These small actions will save thousands of lives each year.  I will end to today with a simple quote.

“Some car accidents are caused by the ignorance or disbelief of the fact that a driver’s eyes and mind can be thousands of kilometres apart.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

My dear lovelies! Please stay safe and I know together will overcome these tough times, because together we can do and overcome anything.

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