By Heather M. Butts, JD, MPH, MA
The relatively low number of COVID deaths among children has led some parents to wonder if exposing their child to COVID voluntarily is the best way to ensure they get the disease quickly in order to gain immunity and be safeguarded from future waves of the disease.
According to Dr. Anna Wolak, medical director of King Edward Medical Centre in a tweet on her twitter page, “The [false] ‘omicron is mild’ narrative is so pervasive, I’m now hearing stories of parents of kids who are covid+ deliberately not isolating siblings from them, in the hopes that they get infected so they’ll be ‘done w/ it.’ Sort of like a chicken pox party. This is NOT a good idea.”
As experts told AmNews, such a course of action could put your child and you in more danger, not less.
Dr. Traci Conti, chair of the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, told the AmNews that “there is no guarantee that if you expose somebody to COVID that they’re going to live through that exposure and so any time somebody’s exposed to COVID unvaccinated [it] increases the risk of death and while we know that children aren’t dying in as frequent numbers as our adult population there is still death in children from COVID, so why would we risk an illness that could cause somebody to die when there’s a vaccine that can specifically prevent serious illness and death.”
Conti continued, stating “We have seen children die from COVID. We’ve also seen children be hospitalized with serious illnesses from COVID and COVID is a new virus and so what we don’t know is what those children, what those adults who get COVID now will look like in years to come. We already have seen adults with long-COVID symptoms from confusion to respiratory illnesses. Those same things can happen in children. While we can see what is happening today, we don’t know what those longer-term effects in our children are going to be from contracting that COVID virus.”
According to Dr. Wilbur Lam, professor, division of hematology/oncology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine, in an interview with AmNews “there are people who are still at risk of having really severe consequences of COVID-19 and those are people who are immunocompromised . . . meaning some people who are on chemo for cancer or people who are on medications that are meant to modulate their their immune system for example, people with with lupus or certain types of arthritis, those are patients who are all at risk patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes . . . people with chronic kidney disease, so even if you yourself want to just get it over with there are probably many in your household or many family members or people close to you that fit that demographic so you don’t want to put them at risk.”
Resources for parents around COVID best practices can be found at: www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/stress-coping/parental-resources/index.html
Information about the new NYC COVID-19 Treatment Hotline link can be found at:
COVID-19 testing and vaccination resources can resources can also be accessed on the AmNews COVID-19 page: www.amsterdamnews.com/covid/
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