CNN has received countless questions from parents and children around the country about the deadly coronavirus pandemic. As a father of three, Dr. Sanjay Gupta knows how important it is to talk to your kids about this virus and all the changes it brings. Each week, he tries to answers as many of these questions as possible.
Here are some kids’ questions he tackled this week.
Delaney Giangeruso, age 7, Glen Ridge, New Jersey: “My grandma got Covid-19. Her doctor says she’s immune to coronavirus for one to three years. Is that true?”
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “First of all, I hope your grandma’s doing better. I’m sure that was pretty scary. Truth is, your grandma should have some protection against the virus now, but we don’t know how long and how strong that protection is, so in the meantime everyone still has to be careful.”
Months into this pandemic, much about the disease remains unknown. Although there have been claims about people having immunity once they’ve had it, It remains unclear if that is actually true. Additionally, it’s unknown how long any sort of immunity would last.
Emmy, age 6, Atlanta, Georgia: “Why do some people get the coronavirus but don’t feel sick?”
Dr. Gupta: “People who are older, people who have preexisting conditions like heart disease, they are more likely to get sick. Kids are less likely to get sick, but they still can, but that means we all have to do everything we can to stop the virus from spreading.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that 40% of people infected with Covid-19 don’t have any symptoms or are “asymptomatic.” Much of the spread of the virus can come from these “silent spreaders” who don’t realize they are carrying the virus and can unintentionally pass it to others. That’s why wearing a mask and social distancing measures are so important to follow.
Noah, age 7, Atlanta: “How many people already have the coronavirus and how many more will get the virus?”
Dr. Gupta: “As things stand now there have been about 5 million people in the United States who have been confirmed to have the infection and the numbers are likely to continue to go up. What we hope is that they eventually flatten and then come down. If we all do the right thing, that’s what’s going to happen
Brandon, age 6, Summit, New Jersey: “When can I hang out with Grandma and Grandpa again and not have to worry about giving them coronavirus?”
Dr. Gupta: “We get this sort of question all of the time. The truth is I think you can see grandma and grandpa now. You just have to do it in a safe way. Maybe meet them outside, keep a little bit of distance and if you’re going to get in close, put on a mask.” (That’s welcome news for grandparents too!)
And finally, it’s never too late to ask about the December holidays.
Layla, age 3, Summit, New Jersey: “Santa Claus, are you allowed to come to my house, now that the virus is here? Can you please?”
Dr. Gupta: “Christmas probably will feel a little different this year, but Santa Claus is still probably going to visit homes all over the world. He may have a mask on, he may keep a little bit of extra distance, but there are ways to still have Christmas and be safe.”
Parents, take note, Christmas is not canceled this year.
If your children have a coronavirus question for Dr. Sanjay Gupta, submit it below and we will be answering as many as we can.