(I wrote this post on March 14, 2020. Obviously, some things have changed. The gist remains the same.)
Folks, keep in mind that there are many more people with compromised immune systems in the community, in your circles, than you think there are. Age is a factor, yes, but so are myriad conditions ranging from cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, organ transplants, sickle cell, MS, inflammatory bowel disease, lupus, diabetes, and more. (Trauma, stress, lack of sleep can also weaken immune systems, for the record.)
Testing and social distancing matter—Why?—because it limits contagion. I guarantee there are people you care about who are immune compromised and you just don’t know it. Don’t panic, but be selective in your outings and interactions. Don’t get angry at people who choose to stay home and decline interaction. Some of us still need to come together, in limited ways, to help one another, to access things, etc., even just to relieve anxiety. Some of us don’t have the luxury of being able to help or interact or even reasonably get to the store because of greater risk.
Just be mindful. Check in with people who might not want to risk crowded stores. If a child doesn’t understand steps you are taking, even down to washing hands more often, put a name/face to your explanation. This is to protect grandma, this is to protect your cousin, this is to protect our friends, etc.
Also, take deep breaths and walks in fresh air.
Visit the CDC’s website on Coronavirus (COVID-19) or the WHO’s website to learn more. Check this out, too: A COVID-19 coronavirus update from concerned physicians (March 15)
There’s a lot of info out there. I’ve been selective about the links and videos here. NPR has a good broadcast on Misinformation Around the Coronavirus.
Here are some other helpful links about coronavirus and kids:
Here are some videos you can watch with your kids:
Need some new songs to sing while washing your hands? (There’s one from Prince … You know you want to listen.) You can also look up any number of hand-washing songs on You Tube. I won’t torment you with them here.
Check out NPR’s Kids Around the World Are Reading NPR’s Coronavirus Comic and the video: