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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
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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 

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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.

Sunday Citizen

I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

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This post is brought to you by Staples. While this was a sponsored opportunity, all content and opinions expressed here are my own.

One of the biggest changes in my household once my daughter started homeschooling was that, suddenly, everything and everyone in our home had to start pulling double duty. While I was used to wearing a lot of hats (mom, wife and WFH employee, to name a few), suddenly our dining room was also pulling shifts as a classroom. My laptop was also a virtual teacher. Our living room hutch was also a school supply closet.

If I didn't want my home to be overrun with an abundance of clutter, I had to find products that could multitask. Here are 10 products that are saving this WFH + homeschooling mama right now.

Stylish storage cabinet

Whether I need a place to keep the printer or just want to keep crayons and colored pencils organized, this pretty cabinet provides a mixture of exposed and hidden storage without clashing with my living room decor.

White board calendar + bulletin board

With so much on our plates these days, I need a visual reminder of our daily schedule or I'll forget everything. This dry erase version makes it easy to keep track of Zoom meetings and virtual classes—and I also love using the corkboard to display my daughter's latest work from art class.

Natural Recycled 3-Ring Binder

From tracking our curriculum progress to organizing my family's paperwork, I can never have enough binders. Even better, this neutral version is pretty enough that I can display them on the bookshelf.

Bamboo storage drawers

The instant you start homeschooling, it can feel like you're suddenly drowning in papers, craft supplies and more. Fortunately, these simple bamboo drawers can be tucked into the cabinet or even displayed on top (seriously, they're that cute!) to keep what we need organized and close at hand.

Laminated world map

I love this dry-erase map for our geography lessons, but the real secret? It also makes a cute piece of wall decor for my work space.

Rolling 7-drawer cabinet

When you're doing it all from home, you sometimes have to roll with the punches—I strongly recommend getting an organizational system that rolls with you. On days when both my husband and I are working from home and I need to move my daughter's classes to another room, this 7-drawer cabinet makes it easy to bring the classroom with us.

Letterboard

From our first day of school photo to displaying favorite quotes to keep myself motivated, this 12"x18" letterboard is my favorite thing to display in our home.

Expandable tablet stand

Word to the wise: Get a pretty tablet stand you won't mind seeing out every day. (Because between virtual playdates, my daughter's screen time and my own personal use, this thing never gets put away.)

Neutral pocket chart

Between organizing my daughter's chore chart, displaying our weekly sight words and providing a fits-anywhere place to keep supplies on hand, this handy little pocket chart is a must-have for homeschooling families.

Totable fabric bins

My ultimate hack for getting my family to clean up after themselves? These fabric bins. I can use them to organize my desk, store my oldest's books and even keep a bin of toys on hand for the baby to play with while we do school. And when playtime is over, it's easy for everyone to simply put everything back in the bin and pop it in the cabinet.

Looking for study solutions for older children? Hop over to Grown & Flown for their top picks for Back to School.

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100 unusual + surprising baby name ideas

From Adelia to Ziggy.

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


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