Category Archives: Coronavirus

Mask Wearing for Children

Yes, kids can get COVID-19 – 3 pediatricians explain what's known about coronavirus and children

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Oishika Das

All fifty states have imposed mandatory mask requirements in response to the pandemic. However, there has been a lot of variability among states in mask policy for children. In Texas, children under the age of ten are excused from mandatory mask use, while in Massachusetts only babies under the age of two are exempt. So at what age should children start wearing masks, and how beneficial is it for them anyway? 

According to the CDC, children over the age of two should wear a mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, babies younger than two years of age should refrain from wearing masks due to a potential suffocation risk. Instead, it is recommended that parents protect their babies by wearing masks themselves and ensuring safe social distancing when in public. 

John Hopkins reports that COVID-19 has less serious health outcomes in children than in adults, but recent studies show that kids are still capable of spreading the disease to more vulnerable populations. Therefore, it is important that parents ensure their children are wearing masks when around anyone they don’t live with. 

Mask wearing might be new and potentially scary for some children, so parents can take the following steps to make their kids more comfortable with the concept: 

  • Draw a mask on their favorite cartoon characters, or put a mask on their stuffed animals.
  • Allow them to choose a colorful, patterned mask, or have them decorate their own to make wearing a mask fun.
  • Teach them how to properly put on and take off a mask, and allow them to practice until they feel confident.
  • Explain the importance of mask use before asking them to put on their mask.

Wearing masks is equally important in children as in adults and has become the new normal during the pandemic. With proper guidance and communication from parents, mask wearing for kids can become a lot less scary and maybe even fun!

Screen Fatigue

Zoom Exhaustion is Real. Here Are Six Ways to Find Balance and Stay  Connected - Mindful

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Prachi Shah

In recent months, millions of people around the world began using online video conferencing software for everything from business meetings to classes to weddings. While Zoom and other video chat programs have been invaluable in allowing our schools, businesses, and communities to continue operating in some fashion during the pandemic, many individuals are now beginning to point out the exhaustion they feel at the end of the day following several hours spent on camera. This phenomenon has come to be known as “video conference fatigue,” and social scientists say that there are a number of reasons why we may be experiencing this novel source of stress.

In-person, human communication has evolved over thousands of years, and while we often think of spoken language as the key to communication, studies have shown that more than half of our communication comes from intonation and nonverbal cues such as face and body position. Moreover, conversational aspects such as timing are vital to having a fluid, natural interaction and are so ingrained that even newborn babies show signs of this synchrony in their interactions. Video chat may disrupt this synchrony and the perception of nonverbal cues since there is often a split-second lag between a speaker and the listeners. Since video calls usually only feature someone from the shoulders up, aspects of nonverbal communication such as posture might be more difficult to perceive. 

In person, periodic, short sections of eye contact are considered a vital part of any interaction, as it’s been shown to play an important role in the participants getting feedback from and establishing a comfortable level of intimacy in the conversation. On video chat, each participant must make a choice between providing eye contact to another person (by looking directly into the camera) or receiving eye contact from another person (by looking at the screen where their video is streaming), which might contribute to feelings of screen fatigue. 

Some tips from experts for limiting video conference fatigue:

  1. Schedule time in between meetings when you can turn off the camera, stretch, and take time for yourself to help you recharge.
  2. Turn off the feature where you can see yourself, which takes away the need for you to spend your mental energy gauging how you look to others.
  3. Establish a consistent routine and a standard place where you work, and keep it separate from areas and times when you are relaxing.

All-day video calls can be exhausting, but being deliberate about how to incorporate these into one’s daily work using these and other tips can help combat video conference fatigue as we go through the next few months virtually.,other%207%25%20from%20words%20said.

Coronavirus and the Loneliness Epidemic

Mask-Wearing/Social Distancing for People who are Deaf/Hard of ...

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Eva Patel

From football games to in-person classes to family barbeques, the coronavirus pandemic has transformed our social lives.

At the end of March, when the United States had approximately 20,000 cases a day, 44% of Americans said their life had changed in a major way. In 2017, Vivek Murthy, the past U.S. Surgeon General, described loneliness as a major public health issue in the US. A January 2020 report from Cigna also reported that 60% of Americans over 18 felt lonely — the highest level of loneliness in American history. Coronavirus might make the  loneliness epidemic worse. Social distancing — which is proved to slow the spread of coronavirus and help flatten the curve — might also feed into America’s loneliness epidemic. And although loneliness is defined more by a lack of meaningful social connection than simply face-to-face interactions, a 2018 Cigna study shows that those who have daily in-person interactions are 38% more likely to say their overall mental and physical health is good compared to those who never have in-person interactions. 

Older adults are at an increased risk for loneliness, and as the highest at-risk group for coronavirus, they are also more likely to follow stricter social distancing guidelines, contributing to isolation. Loneliness has some concrete health risks, such as premature death, suicide, depression, heart disease, and stroke. Although loneliness is not something strictly defined by DSM-5, it is an increasingly recognized aspect of health. Many mental health experts advocate for the term “physical distancing”. Social distancing implies disconnecting from friends, family, and support networks at a time when these support networks are most needed.