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Content provided by Thomas W. Tryon, MD, MBA, FAAP; UCA Pediatric Section Chair
To say the least, the year 2020 will be indelibly imprinted in our memories as one of the most challenging and difficult in our lifetimes. The COVID-19 pandemic still rages on in our country and children and adults are still getting sick with the virus infection. Unfortunately, we are also still seeing <1,000 deaths each day caused by the virus, primarily in the adult population.
If there is anything to be grateful for it is that children (17 years of age and younger) do not seem to be getting as ill or dying from COVID-19 as they often do from other pandemic viral infections. The latest US data compiled from collaboration with the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association shows that, as of December 10th:
1,639,728 total child COVID-19 cases have been reported (as of December 21st, CDC is reporting 17, 790,376 total cases with 316,844 deaths)
Children represented less than 10% of all cases even though they represent 21% of our population as a whole
The number of cases in children has increased significantly over the past six weeks and may represent an increase in testing of children
Only 0.00%-0.21% of all COVID-19 deaths were in children
15 states have reported zero child deaths
Symptoms: Children may not have the typical symptoms of COVID-19. Somewhere between 16% and 50% of children with COVID-19 will not have any symptoms
It is likely that every child has been directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19. Many of them have lost family members to this pandemic. As parents, we always strive to provide a sense of normalcy and stability for our children at a time when there is so much fear, uncertainty and sadness surrounding them. Their lives are being changed almost daily with changing schedules and rules. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends during these times that we focus our energies on “controlling what we can control and practicing gratitude for the events – no matter how small – that enrich our days.”
In an article on “How to Practice Gratitude and Improve Your Family’s Mental Health”1 written by Datta Munshi, MD, FAAP she recommends five specific ways to encourage gratitude in your children:
Promote sincere verbal or written expressions of thankfulness
Focus on what went right each day
Don’t save conversations about gratitude only for Thanksgiving
Find ways to help others in need
Exhibit gratefulness as a role-model parent
As a nation and a people, we have a history of resilience and strength and I believe we will get through this together. As we approach the holiday season, I am grateful for each of you and for the impact you have on improving the lives of children one day at a time. Best wishes.
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