Children at Risk addresses coronavirus, influenza and its effect on children

HOUSTON – The non-profit organization, Children at Risk brought together local and national health experts to address the growing concern over COVID-19, the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a global health crisis.

During the news conference, the experts talked about myths and realities of the spread of COVID-19, the flu and its effect on children and other vulnerable members of the population.

Allison Winnike, president and CEO of The Immunization Partnership, said parents and schools should be prepared for potential school closures.

Health officials said families will be impacted if businesses or schools close, but at this point, there isn’t a threshold for when schools would close. While Texas schools have dealt with closures in the past due to the flu, closures associated with coronavirus could be prolonged, Winnike said.

KPRC 2 asked health officials what can parents do to try and keep children healthy. Sanghamitra Misra the Medical Director of Mobile Clinics, Texas Children’s Hospitals said they would refer back to the CDC.

‘We just don’t have enough information to give specific guidance but trying to limit the infection spread," Misra said. "So all infection is spread from person to person (and the) only way to minimize that is washing hands, coughing into arms and limiting the time you spend in public areas.’

Winnike said echoed what health officials have been telling the public, which is to wash their hands, avoid touching their face, stay away from sick people and to stay home if they are sick as just a few ways to slow the spread and keep themselves healthy.

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the Baylor College of Medicine, said we need to take special care to keep elderly people, healthcare workers and other vulnerable people healthy.

Hotez called the disease the “angel of death” and said they mortality rate among people over 70 is about 10% to 20% and about 15% of healthcare workers had severe illness and had to be admitted into the intensive care unit.

Young people may not be as much at risk, but they can still be carriers of the disease and put older people at risk.

Bob Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, said there will be economic impact and people should work and save where they can because there will come a time when people may not be able to work.

There are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Harris and Fort Bend counties – two confirmed positive cases and three presumptive positives.

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