Please re-open dance schools catering to children under the age of 18. Exploration and instruction in the arts is an essential part of a balanced education. The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a great deal from our children. For some, dance training provided the only sense of normalcy in their lives. The science, logistics, and compliance of dance professionals has demonstrated this decision is not only safe, but also likely life-saving.
While there seems to be no end in sight for this interminable isolation, the decisions made during this upcoming holiday season will have a lasting impact. Our lives depend on each and every citizen doing their part to prevent spread of this disease. Get tested. Wear your mask. Wash your hands. Spend time outside. Doing these simple things can potentially saves lives.
Whether we like it or not, the face mask—an N95, surgical mask, or one made of cotton cloth—has become the universal symbol of 2020. And it is possible that face masks save more lives than we realize.
Creation of a COVID-19 vaccine is the crown jewel of the White House’s COVID-19 response. President Trump unrealistically named the tedious and time-consuming endeavor “Operation Warp Speed.” To be licensed for use, a novel vaccine must be tested for safety, immune system reactivity, and protective value in humans, which can take up to 10-15 years. Unlike medications, which treat patients with a medical condition, vaccines are given to healthy people, therefore the safety margin must be extraordinarily high.
The United States has one of the highest rates of obesity in the world. More than 40% of American adults are obese, which means they have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. Almost 10% of American adults qualify as severely obese, defined as having a BMI of 40 or more. Of those with extreme obesity — defined as a BMI of 40 or more —the risk of death from COVID-19 is 17 times higher.
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed weaknesses inherent in an underfunded public health system, a monopolized hospital, and a fractured medical supply chain.
A great deal of medicine can be boiled down to basic pattern recognition. Advance knowledge enables one to be better prepared—forewarned is forearmed. Supportive interventions instituted at home, the hospital or even the intensive care unit, could improve patient survival. After learning more about this research, the fact I had “flu-like” symptoms without a fever, was oddly reassuring. Hopefully, readers will find this information as comforting as I did. Thankfully, my test came back negative. And I will never take smelling my gardenias for granted again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the face of education in America; however, we must minimize the profoundly adverse social, developmental, and health costs to our children. Research shows by implementing new protocols, schools can be re-opened safely and effectively.
Wearing a face mask to reduce spread of Covid-19 and touting condom use to diminish transmission of HIV and other STDs are essentially the same thing. Masking up should not be a question of politics, gender, or education. It is no more “negative” emotionally to cover our face and protect our neighbor than it is to wrap our naughty bits with latex and protect our sexual partner.
As a pediatrician, I am even more concerned about those students who are homeless, food insecure, or being exposed to violence more regularly at home as a result of school closure. School is the one place where children can feel safe, fed, and supported. Children with disabilities—who receive speech, language, and other therapies—have been unable to continue their specialized services at school, which are essential to foster learning and development.