Coronavirus updates: Kids are less at risk, a breakthrough drug + more

Here's the latest on what parents need to know about COVID-19.

Coronavirus updates: Kids are less at risk, a breakthrough drug + more

We've been living under the cloud of coronavirus for so long now and have adjusted (as best we can) to this new normal. Some of the adjustments will be temporary and some will likely be permanent changes to the fabric of our society.

Sometimes it feels like we still know far too little about the virus that has disrupted our lives and our plans in immeasurable ways, but this week there have been several new developments in the fight against the coronavirus. Researchers are beginning to put pieces together and the headlines about COVID-19 are now much more hopeful than they were in previous months.

Hope is on the horizon thanks to science.

Here are the new coronavirus breakthroughs parents need to know:

What parents need to know about the 'breakthough' COVID-19 drug 

You've probably never heard of dexamethasone before, but on Tuesday the drug became international news after the results of a drug trial were announced. The researchers say the drug (a cheap, common steroid) should immediately be used to treat COVID-19 patients.

According to Martin Landray, an Oxford University professor co-lead of the trial, the preliminary study "shows that if patients who have COVID-19 and are on ventilators or are on oxygen are given dexamethasone, it will save lives, and it will do so at a remarkably low cost."

"It is a major breakthrough," said Landray's co-lead, Peter Horby. "Dexamethasone is inexpensive, on the shelf, and can be used immediately to save lives worldwide."

In the UK, the government is already making the drug available and stockpiling a supply. Stateside, President Trump is predicting a vaccine by the end of 2020 (it should be noted that Dr. Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and other health officials are not backing up this prediction.)

"Before the end of the year, I predict we will have a very successful vaccine, therapeutic and cure," Trump said Tuesday. "We're making tremendous progress."

The President's prediction may not be as comforting as the discovery of dexamethasone's life-saving potential, but another study is definitely good news for parents.

Children are only half as likely to get infected by the coronavirus, says new study 

A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Medicine has parents breathing a sigh of relief as it shows children are only half as likely to get the coronavirus compared to adults.

While children (especially those with compromised immune systems) can get sick, tragically fatal cases in kids are uncommon and people over 20 are more likely to get COVID-19 than kids and teens are.

The study shows kids are 35 to 60% less susceptible to coronavirus than adults are.

"These results have implications for the likely effectiveness of school closures in mitigating SARS-CoV-2 transmission, in that these might be less effective than for other respiratory infections," the study authors, based at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, conclude.

The study shows that kids who do get infected with the coronavirus are much more likely than older people to have mild symptoms and fewer than a quarter of kids will show symptoms at all.

More research is needed but this is good news for parents and school divisions trying to plan for children to return to their classrooms in the fall.

Dr. Fauci and studies say face masks work, so wearing one can be an act of kindness 


There's a large body of evidence suggesting face masks do help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the Centers for Disease Control has updated its guidance, recommending masks when attending large gatherings.

"The guideline is really for any type of gathering," says Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC's deputy director for infectious diseases, "whether it's the backyard barbecue or something larger, and it's not intended to endorse any particular type of event."

Butler's advice is similar to that given by Dr. Fauci in an interview with TheStreet, "Masks are not 100% protective. However, they certainly are better than not wearing a mask. Both to prevent you, if you happen to be a person who maybe feels well, but has an asymptomatic infection that you don't even know about, to prevent you from infecting someone else," Fauci said.

"But also, it can protect you a certain degree, not 100%, in protecting you from getting infected from someone who, either is breathing, or coughing, or sneezing, or singing or whatever it is in which the droplets or the aerosols go out. So masks work," Fauci added.

While some countries mandate masks in public settings, the United States does not and the World Health Organization's stance on non-medical fabric masks has evolved into a recommendation. At the same time, new study out of the UK suggests that population-wide mask wearing could prevent a second wave of COVID-19.

The bottom line: Mask wearing can help, and because it is possible to spread the virus without showing symptoms yourself, wearing a mask can be an act of kindness toward all the people you may come in contact with outside your home.

This is my one trick to get baby to sleep (and it always works!)

There's a reason why every mom tells you to buy a sound machine.

So in my defense, I grew up in Florida. As a child of the sunshine state, I knew I had to check for gators before sitting on the toilet, that cockroaches didn't just scurry, they actually flew, and at that point, the most popular and only sound machine I had ever heard of was the Miami Sound Machine.

I was raised on the notion that the rhythm was going to get me, not lull me into a peaceful slumber. Who knew?!

Well evidently science and, probably, Gloria Estefan knew, but I digress.

When my son was born, I just assumed the kid would know how to sleep. When I'm tired that's what I do, so why wouldn't this smaller more easily exhausted version of me not work the same way? Well, the simple and cinematic answer is, he is not in Kansas anymore.

Being in utero is like being in a warm, soothing and squishy spa. It's cozy, it's secure, it comes with its own soundtrack. Then one day the spa is gone. The space is bigger, brighter and the constant stream of music has come to an abrupt end. Your baby just needs a little time to acclimate and a little assist from continuous sound support.

My son, like most babies, was a restless and active sleeper. It didn't take much to jolt him from a sound sleep to crying like a banshee. I once microwaved a piece of pizza, and you would have thought I let 50 Rockettes into his room to perform a kick line.

I was literally walking on eggshells, tiptoeing around the house, watching the television with the closed caption on.

Like adults, babies have an internal clock. Unlike adults, babies haven't harnessed the ability to hit the snooze button on that internal clock. Lucky for babies they have a great Mama to hit the snooze button for them.

Enter the beloved by all—sound machines.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.

And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3


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A few years ago, while my wife's baby bump got bigger and my daddy reading list grew longer, I felt cautiously optimistic that this parenthood thing would, somehow, suddenly click one day. The baby would come, instincts would kick in, and the transition from established couple to a new family would be tiring but not baffling.

Boy was I wrong.

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