Let’s look at the history of bad news about how this particular disease gets around, with special emphasis on beliefs about children. The coronavirus era began with the widespread belief that children were pretty much invulnerable. The media reported anomalous cases — a first-grader here, an eighth-grader there. A nine-year-old in one state, a five-year-old in another. Bits of knowledge trickled into consciousness and then changed from a trickle to a stream as scientifically certified facts insisted on pushing their way to the foreground.
Early on, in the spring, there was the consciousness of one of the many ways in which the pandemic indirectly affected children. The sequestration of minors to protect them from the virus is defended by some and pooh-poohed by others. To figure out these dilemmas with what might be called “normal” children is difficult enough. In May the British press explored the problem of what to do about children whose normality consists of being locked away.
The government investigated carceral institutions, including child detention facilities, where the lockdown rules grew even stricter and some kids are allowed only 40 minutes a day outside their cells. Children in official custody still have all the problems that regular children have, including obesity and susceptibility to COVID-19. Journalist Michael Savage reported:
Children reported that they were struggling with the lack of visits, with some facilities having no video-call facilities… Children in custody have been subject to restricted activities for the past eight weeks, as institutions attempt to comply with official social-distancing guidance. Face-to-face education sessions have stopped in most centres, and visits have been hugely reduced. “Access to time out of cell, education, activities and family and professional visits have been severely curtailed,” the investigation finds.
By July, the word was going around that the test showing the presence of antibodies, if positive, does not imply that the disease will not recur in the future. As Rachel Schraer put it,
[H]aving antibodies does not mean you are immune. Your immune system does use antibodies to fight but it has a short memory with some viruses.
For some reason, early on, it was thought that because children’s respiratory tracts are sparsely populated with ACE2 receptors, the virus could not establish a foothold there. And then, this came along:
[C]hildren have as much — and in some cases up to a hundred times more — virus RNA present in their nose and throat… [The] virus was still able to get into enough cells to turn them into highly productive factories to produce just as much virus.
July brought many COVID-19 outbreaks in the daycare centers of Texas. Oregon reported that its caseload of children under 10 had multiplied by five. It became increasingly clear that, yes, this disease can afflict children. There is no reason why not. Journalist Robert Roy Britt quoted Robert Salata, M.D., a specialist in both epidemiology and international health, who teaches at Case Western Reserve University:
The most remarkable thing for me is the fact that we are learning of the catastrophic consequences of this viral infection from strokes in younger persons, multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, cardiac and renal complications, and the long-lasting consequences of symptoms related to a post-Covid syndrome.
For months, a citadel of wishful thinking had been constructed. Now it began to crumble.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Covid causes child detention crisis, and a ‘timebomb’ in adult prisons,” TheGuardian.com, 05/31//20
Source: “Coronavirus: Majority testing positive have no symptoms,” BBC.com, 07/07/20
Source: “What’s the Deal With Kids and the Coronavirus: Five Leading Theories,” Medium.com, 08/02/20
Source: “9 Things Experts Have Learned About Covid-19 So Far,” Medium.com, 08/28/20
Image by Shelby L. Bell/CC BY 2.0