Spring Break and summer vacation are approaching fast, and the coronavirus fears aren’t going anywhere. But, if your chief concern is the health and well being of your kids, you can breathe a sigh of (some) relief. Since the coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, children have been the least affected demographic.
According to reports from the China Center for Disease Control, out of the first 72,000 cases of the coronavirus COVID-19 that were reported, less than one percent consisted of children younger than ten years old, and only about two percent of cases when the age is stretched to 20 and younger.
All of the cases reported right now in the state of Florida, where Walt Disney World is located, involve adults over the age of 20. Worldwide, no child deaths have been reported.
Now, kids aren’t by any means immune to catching the disease. But, children are proving to ride out the disease better than any adults.
Dr. Juan Dumois, a pediatric infections disease physician at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, spoke to the Tampa Bay Times and explained that the kids around the world who have tested positive for the coronavirus have only shown mild cases if any symptoms at all.
“Many of them look like they have a cold,” he said.
So, why do kids seem to be spared the worst of this disease? Doctors and health officials are still unsure, but many experts hypothesize that the answer lies in their immune system. Kids are not exactly the most hygienic demographic of human beings, and experts speculate a child’s immune system is better conditioned to fight off similar types of coronaviruses, including the ones that cause the common cold. The human immune system also changes as we age. The most significant change? Age can weaken it.
“It could be that certain viruses like this one are only prone to cause severe illness in people with weakened immune systems, including immune systems that naturally weaken over time,” Dumois said. More research comparing the immunity of adults and children has yet to emerge.
However, please keep in mind that while they may ride it out so well they hardly show any symptoms, children can still spread COVID-19 to other, slightly more susceptible people. Especially grandparents. Dumois continued to echo the sentiments of his colleges around the nation and the world. Keep clean, wash your hands, wipe down often-touched surfaces, and limit your exposure to unwell kids.
“6-year-olds are usually not great at proper cough etiquette,” Dumois said.
So, if your kids are in good health, and you practice strong hygiene habits like washing your hands, covering your mouth when you cough, limiting physical contact with strangers (i.e. handshaking) and disinfecting often touched areas, there’s very little worry.
Still, we at Inside the Magic want to remind you that the Walt Disney World resort and the Disneyland resort are both taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all their guests.
On Walt Disney World’s website, it states:
As part of our commitment to the health and safety of our guests, Cast Members, and the larger community, we have high standards for sanitation and employ robust cleaning procedures, such as:
- Training for Cast Members, with ongoing reinforcement on a regular basis
- Defined cycles for frequent cleaning and disinfection of targeted areas
- Easy access to handwashing facilities and hand sanitizers
- Quick response to spills, trash and other situations
- End of day sanitation procedures for restroom, kitchen, and other facilities
- Frequent cleaning and “wash down” of outdoor locations, including walkways and queues
We also offer guest First Aid locations to assist with minor health issues and offer preventive health services to our Cast Members, such as free vaccinations and online wellness clinics and pharmacies. Additionally, our onsite health teams and leaders routinely communicate with our Cast Members about illness prevention.
We maintain close relationships with local, state, national, and international public health authorities, and follow their guidance when additional preventive measures are needed.