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Children and coronavirus: What doctors know


ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – On Wednesday, Johns Hopkins medical experts gathered to discuss what they’ve learned from the pandemic, specifically about the impact this virus is having on children.

As we near the 6-month mark after the first confirmed coronavirus case in the U.S., life, as we know it, has changed. It now involves a lot more face coverings, hand sanitizer, and social distancing.

Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Aaron Milstone, M.D., M.H.S., said COVID-19 affects everyone but it manifests differently in children.

Milestone said he is seeing a rise in the number of children who need aggressive treatment due to COVID-19 as well as a multi-system inflammatory syndrome, a condition that can cause inflammation in the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain and other parts of the body.

“It is concerning, we have seen many kids hospitalized and some kids who have died from this post-COVID syndrome. What it needs to do is remind everyone we are still learning about this, what it can do to the body, not just the lungs but other parts of the body,” said Milstone.

Doctors say before scheduling playtime for kids this summer, parents should discuss where each other’s families have been in the past two weeks to make sure their priorities are aligned. They also say school this coming fall will look different for families.

“Schools will look different, classroom sizes may be smaller, the days may be scheduled differently. There may be hybrid models of learning. We’re hoping and encouraging people to be patient and amendable to changes,” said Milstone.

“We are not out of the woods yet. My message would be we need patience and perseverance to get through this crisis and focus on the very basics of infection prevention practices that we all know so well like like hand washing, face masks, and social distancing,” said Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Crystal Watson, Dr.P.H., M.P.H.

“Things will start to look different over the next 6-12 months,” said Milstone.

“As states begin to re-open, contact tracing — a public health tool that identifies and alerts those who may have been exposed to disease — will play a critical role in containing COVID-19, alongside social distancing and widespread testing,” said Watson in a preliminary release.

She said now more than ever our society needs to expand the use of workers who know how to do contact tracing so that we may re-open society safely and mitigate more waves of the disease.

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health launched a free online course to train contact tracers.


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