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Live Coronavirus Updates for Parents and Kids in the New York Metro Area

Live Coronavirus Updates for Parents and Kids in the New York Metro Area

Here are the latest news developments about the virus—and tips from experts on how to protect your kids

*Author's note: This article is being updated daily as the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop. Follow along with the CDC's Health Alert Network for more updates. 

So far, novel coronavirus has sickened at least 5,519,000 people, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the United States has the highest number of cases of any country, and the United States death toll has surpassed 98,000. The WHO declared the virus a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11. 

Scientists are racing to understand this virus as it affects people around the world in new ways—seemingly all the time. If you remember the SARS outbreak of 2002 or the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, you might be worried about what this virus means for your kids. Here is a breakdown of the latest coronavirus developments in New York, including information on how the virus affects children, as well as tips for protecting your kids from the virus and for talking to them about it. 

The latest New York coronavirus developments

New daily coronavirus cases are now lower than at the beginning of the outbreak, Governor Cuomo reports. But coronavirus has hit the New York metro area hard. Cuomo declared a state of emergency on Saturday, March 7. The number of cases in New York state has risen to more than 361,000, with more than 60,000 in Queens (the second most of any single county in the country). Seven of the 10 most-infected counties in the country are in New York state. There are more than 1,663,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States.

New York beaches opened, with restrictions, beginning Memorial Day Weekend. 5 out of 10 regions in the state have met the criteria and have begun reopening, and Cuomo will continue unveiling plans for reopening the rest of New York as regions are ready.

New York now has more than 750 testing locations and is testing more people per capita than any other state in the country, according to Cuomo. New York first opened a "drive through" testing facility in New Rochelle. Northwell Health has semiautomated its testing and can now test 160 patients for coronavirus per day. ProHEALTH Urgent Care now offers drive-through testing in Little Neck, Jericho, and Stony Brook. The Javits Center transformed into a 1,000-bed temporary hospital, and Central Park transformed as well, but those beds have since come down. Cuomo set up temporary hospital sites in every borough, in Westchester and Ulster counties, and at SUNY Stony Brook and Old Westbury in Suffolk and Nassau counties.

You can watch Cuomo's daily briefings live on his Facebook page. Early in the story, Cuomo criticized the CDC's slow response to coronavirus and its lag in authorizing laboratories around the state to test for the virus, particularly Northwell Health Labs.  The United States has dropped all federal limits on virus testing, but the virus is still spreading faster than the national capacity to test is increasing. 

New York has stepped up its own testing efforts and reached out to more than 70,000 registered, retired hospital staff to enlist their help in increasing current hospital staff, so there are viable replacements if doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists get sick. 


Signs and symptoms of coronavirus—and actions to take

This virus can be anxiety-inducing because we’ve never seen it before, and scientists are unaware of its true potential to harm people. Dr. Roberto Posada, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital, reminds parents that most people affected by the virus—about 80 percent—only show mild symptoms and do not require hospital care, and the the majority of people hit hard are elderly or have preexisting conditions. Children are the least likely group to be severely affected. However, keep in mind that the virus has now been shown to spread locally—meaning you do not have to have been in contact with a known patient, or travel to an affected country, to contract the virus. 

Dr. Ferrer recommends that parents do not panic. Keep in mind—the flu has killed thousands of people in the United States alone this year.

“At some point in our lives, we’ve all been infected with coronavirus. It’s one of the many viruses that produces cold or flu like symptoms,” Dr. Ferrer says. “Don’t panic [about this one]. The reason this virus has progressed so quickly is it’s still not well understood, but outbreaks happen every year. We should remain aware of our surroundings, aware of the information that is coming through the surveillance systems of the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention], and take measures if your children develop respiratory symptoms.”

The virus is spread when viral droplets (from a cough or sneeze) directly enter a person's eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets can linger on surfaces like subway rails or door handles. The aggressiveness of this coronavirus is still unknown, and could be due to the planet’s population growth, which provides the virus with more chances to mutate and become stronger, Dr. Ferrer says. That’s why early detection is key in treating it—and learning more about it. While symptoms can look just like the common cold or flu, be on guard.

“A lot of times we wait too long to go to the doctor because we’re used to just ‘getting through’ the cold and flu,” Dr. Ferrer says.

The signs of coronavirus can be fever, runny nose, sore throat, cough, and respiratory difficulties that can turn into pneumonia—and that can worsen rapidly, Dr. Ferrer says. The CDC recently added six symptoms that coronavirus patients might experience:

  • Chills
  • Repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of taste or smell, or both

The virus can have lasting effects, such as lung scarring, even on young and healthy people. Its full longterm impact on the body is still unknown. Experts say that if your fever reaches 100.4 degrees and you have all the symptoms above, it's time to call the doctor.

How coronavirus affects children and how you can protect yours

Coronavirus has sickened very few kids so far (and experts are struggling to understand why), but the New York has seen an outbreak of cases of multi-system inflammatory syndrome that might potentially be associated with coronavirus. If your child is less than 21 years old and has a persistent fever lasting more than four days, incomplete or typical Kawasaki disease (which causes inflammation of arteries), and/or toxic shock syndrome-like symptoms, your pediatrician should immediately refer you to a pediatric infectious disease specialist and you should report the case to the Health Department through the Provider Access Line at 866-692-3641.

Good hygiene and health practices are essential to protect your family, and others in your community who might be immunocompromised. Always encourage kids of all ages to cough and sneeze into their elbows, not their hands. Make sure kids wash their hands thoroughly and often (hand sanitizer is helpful, but not a replacement!). Do not go out right now if you or your kids are sick. Take extra care with kids who have chronic conditions or compromised immune systems.

If your child starts to exhibit coronavirus symptoms, experts recommend you call your local health provider before taking your child to the doctor to figure out the best course of action.

If you're working from home, you get to stay in with the kids. But if you're an essential worker, here are some tips on finding last-minute child care. WeeCare, a large network of licensed home day care providers, has introduced "Fever-Free Zones" to help prevent the spread of the virus, where day care providers have to submit evidence that their home is fever free before being authorized to provide care for the day. You can find a fever-free WeeCare home day care option within a five-mile radius of your home.

How to talk to your kids about coronavirus

The Child Mind Institute published tips on how to talk to your kids about coronavirus with inciting panic or fear. Strategies include

Don't be afraid to talk about the virusnot talking about the illness kids will probably hear about on the news can make them more anxious. Keep conversations going as the story develops.

Be developmentally appropriate. Too much information can be overwhelming. Meet your kids at their level.

Be reassuring, focus on what your family can do to stay safe, and stick to your routine as much as possible. Structured days with regular mealtimes can be essential to keeping kids healthy and happy, says Janine Domingues, Ph.D., a child psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, especially if their schools close. You can read the rest of the tips on the Child Mind website.

Common Sense Media has also released guidelines to help parents now that schools have closed. Check out their tips, resources, and more. This piece provides strategies for easing anxiety in kids with special needs, as well.


Travel considerations for the rest of the year amid coronavirus

Francesca Page, the TV host, journalist and travel expert behind Miss Travel Guru, provided tips for people considering keeping their summer travel plans intact (if we can). 

  • If you do decide to travel, get the flu shot and all other necessary vaccinations, rest, stay hydrated, and stay as healthy as possible before getting on the plane.
  • Consider refundable rates when booking hotels and rental cars. "Read the fine print," Page says. "And note the cancellation window on your hotel booking."
  • If you're going on a cruise, check the line's cancellation policies. According to Page, many lines have been giving vouchers for people who decide to change their plans because of the virus.
  • Read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance carefully. When unsure which plan to buy, get the Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) option.



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Jacqueline Neber

Author: Jacqueline Neber is an assistant editor and a graduate of The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. When she's not focused on writing special needs and education features, you can find her petting someone else's dog. See More

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