Ask the Experts: The Pandemic and Kids
What’s your biggest concern about the pandemic’s impact on children?
My greatest concern is that due to the lack of socialization with their peers, their development growth might not progress as it would normally. Children need to learn how to share, build relationships, and communicate with others. We’re working to close the gap with live interactions through our closed-circuit TV programming. We are also providing toys and games for families to play together, along with more bedside visits with our Child Life specialists, music therapists, teachers, and art therapist.
Child Life Specialist and Facility Dog Handler
While COVID-19 appears to be less severe for children, a number of key gaps remain in our understanding. We now believe that some children develop a severe post-infectious, multi-system, inflammatory syndrome that can lead to heart problems and shock. It’s important that we continue researching health impacts. Members of our division also are studying the immune response of infants to perinatal exposure.
Theodore Ruel, MD
Chief, UCSF Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and Global Health
The pandemic has stretched children and their families to the limits. Many children experience worry and fear as they observe their caregivers coping with the global impact. At our Oakland campus, with generous donor funding, we’ve been able to help families meet basic needs such as food, clothing, and supplies. We’re relieving some of the stressors they face during an uncertain time.
LCSW Director, Medical Social Services
I am concerned about whether children are learning appropriately through technology-based modalities, particularly children with learning differences. At UCSF, a group of physicians is consulting with local school districts to help them understand federal, state, and local guidance and safely reopen. We have also partnered with summer camps and day-care facilities to identify reopening strategies and ways to track their safety as they have reopened.
Lee Atkinson-McEvoy, MD
Executive Medical Director, Children’s Primary Care
I worry about our children’s social-emotional well-being and about their ability to feel safe and to develop and maintain relationships. I also worry about the mental and physical health of Black people, especially Black children. We work steadfastly to create a healthier tomorrow by addressing inequities through clinical practice transformation, research and system change.
Dayna Long, MD
Medical Director, Center for Child and Community Health
A substantial number of young people have lost the social connections and structure that school and community provide. I am concerned that the mental and emotional toll will contribute to mental illness in a world where access to care is already grossly inadequate. Fortunately, we are growing our mental health team and expanding our use of technology to reach more children. The experience we’re gaining during the pandemic will serve us going forward.
Bryan H. King, MD, MBA
Vice President, Child Behavioral Health Services
We’re in This Together
As the coronavirus continues to sweep the globe, the health of our patients and staff remains our top priority. Learn how we’re keeping kids safe and working to reduce the impact of the coronavirus.
Do you have questions about COVID-19 you want answered? Email us at [email protected].