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Video: University of Michigan School of Public Health

Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic with young children is challenging. Parents struggling to discuss the pandemic with their children can find help in a video from the University of Michigan School of Public Health that provides scientifically accurate information about COVID-19 for children 6 to 11 years old.

Narrated by a child, the video provides information on the current knowledge about COVID-19 and recommends public health methods for personal and community protection. The video is intended to encourage families to talk "constructively about the virus and the way it has impacted their lives," according to a press release.

"This video is scientifically accurate while taking into account not only a child's intellectual curiosity but also their emotional needs as they approach a difficult and increasingly personal subject matter," Alison Miller, of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, said in a statement.

Learn more on the University of Michigan School of Public Health site.

Data reported this week from the Urban Institute Health Reform Monitoring Survey reveal that more than four in 10 parents reported job and income losses in late March and early April, but these losses were most prevalent among lower-income and black and Hispanic parents.

Based on the responses of 9,032 adults who participated in the March/April survey, more than four in 10 parents of children younger than 19 reported they or a family member lost a job, had work hours reduced, or had a cut in work-related income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When stratified by income, one or more of these outcomes was reported by 53.1 percent of parents with incomes below 250 percent of the federal poverty level compared with 33.5 percent of parents with family incomes above 250 percent of the federal poverty level. Based on race/ethnicity, one or more of these negative outcomes was reported by 62.2 percent of Hispanic parents, 49.7 percent of non-Hispanic black parents, and 36.5 percent of non-Hispanic white parents.

Low-income parents reported being less likely to work from home and reported greater difficulty in arranging child care compared with higher-income parents. A similar finding was seen for Hispanic parents, who were less likely to work from home and reported greater difficulty finding child care versus non-Hispanic white parents. To cope with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, parents reported cutting back spending on food, reducing savings and increasing debt. Overall, more than one-third had problems paying for housing, utility, food or medical costs in the previous month; this rose to about half among low-income and black and Hispanic parents.

"Ensuring children's home environments remain as stable as possible and that their educational, nutritional, physical and mental health needs are met will be paramount to helping families and communities weather the current crisis and to minimizing adverse economic, health and emotional effects on children," the researchers wrote in the report.

Read the full report.

New York state is launching a COVID-19 contact tracing program in coordination with New Jersey and Connecticut and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg announced Wednesday.

Contact tracing involves testing to confirm if someone has COVID-19, interviewing the person to identify anyone they have been in contact with and reaching out to their contacts to inform them of their infection risk. Contact tracers also refer contacts to medical providers and direct those who are not sick to isolate for 14 days to ensure they do not spread COVID-19 to others.

The New York State Department of Health and Bloomberg Philanthropies will work together to recruit candidates for contact tracing. Candidates will include staff from the Department of Health, investigators from different state agencies, tracers from downstate counties and medical students at SUNY and CUNY. The Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University is providing an online curriculum and training program for contact tracers. An expert panel will also be created to review the program's work and create a model for other states to use when implementing contact tracing.

"One of the most critical pieces of getting to a new normal is to ramp up testing, but states have a second big task — to put together an army of people to trace each person who tested positive, find out who they contacted and then isolate those people," Governor Cuomo said in a statement. "This partnership with Mike Bloomberg to create an unprecedented, nation-leading contact tracing program will do just that and serve as a model for the rest of the nation."

Read the full press release.

Physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine are swapping ventilators and intubation for high-flow nasal cannulas and prone positioning to treat some patients with COVID-19. Their results have been encouraging.

High-flow nasal cannulas are noninvasive nasal prongs placed below the nostrils that blow warm, humidified oxygen into the nose and lungs. Emergency department physicians at the University of Chicago Medicine have treated dozens of COVID-19 patients with high-flow nasal cannulas rather than ventilators. After 10 days, only one patient required intubation.

This treatment combination has helped to avoid intubations and has decreased the rate of poor outcomes. "The proning and the high-flow nasal cannulas combined have brought patient oxygen levels from around 40 percent to 80 percent and 90 percent, so it's been fascinating and wonderful to see," Thomas Spiegel, M.D., medical director of the University of Chicago Medicine Emergency Department, said in a statement.

High-flow nasal cannulas are not without risks. Because they blow air out, they convert the COVID-19 virus into a spray in the air. Therefore, it is essential staff have proper personal protective equipment, negative pressure patient rooms and anterooms in front of the patient rooms where staff can change in and out of safety gear to avoid contamination.

Read the full press release.

Many Americans are feeling lonely, overwhelmed and anxious amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Harris Poll findings released by the University of Phoenix.

An online survey of 1,055 U.S. adults conducted March 30 to 31, 2020, found that:

  • 44 percent reported feeling lonelier than ever before
  • 41 percent of respondents said their biggest concern was experiencing increased anxiety, while others said their greatest concerns were not being able to pay their bills, reduced job salary/work hours or losing their job/not being able to get a new job
  • 68 percent reported feeling like everything is out of their control
  • 56 percent feel they are balancing more now than ever
  • Most respondents – 84 percent – said that their mental health will be impacted if social distancing continues longer than expected

Despite these findings, many respondents reported doing things to maintain connections and mental health, such as checking in with loved ones, increasing their exercise, limiting news consumption and performing acts of kindness.

"While many people are currently feeling anxiety, there can be several ways to maintain good mental health by making small behavior changes," Dean Aslinia, Ph.D., counseling department chair at University of Phoenix, said in a press release. "Instead of texting or emailing, make a phone call or use video chat to build a more meaningful connection. Build activity in your day by trying something new or setting a goal for yourself to start a new project. Remember, it is okay to seek professional help, if your negative feelings persist. Many mental health practitioners are offering virtual counseling sessions so you can have someone to talk to without leaving the house."

Read the full press release.

Two studies from researchers at NYU Langone Health reveal that obesity is a risk factor for hospital admission and critical care among younger patients with COVID-19.

The data, published in Clinical Infectious Diseases and posted to the website, show that patients younger than 60 with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 to 34 were twice as likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19, and those with BMI of 35 or greater were twice as likely to be admitted to acute care and three times more likely to be admitted to the ICU compared with nonobese patients.

Read the full study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Read the full report on

The first empirical findings of sensory loss associated with COVID-19 were published April 12 in the International Forum of Allergy & Rhinology.

Researchers found that patients who have loss of taste and smell are 10 times more likely to have COVID-19 than other infections.

In the study, 1,480 patients with flu-like symptoms were tested for COVID-19 at UC San Diego Health from March 3 through March 29, 2020; 102 tested positive. Survey responses were received from 59 COVID-19-positive and 203 COVID-19-negative patients. Sixty-eight and 71 percent of positive patients reported loss of smell and taste, respectively, versus 16 and 17 percent of negative patients.

The good news? Taste and smell recovered quickly for most people. "Among the Covid-19 patients with smell loss, more than 70 percent had reported improvement of smell at the time of survey and of those who hadn't reported improvement, many had only been diagnosed recently," study author Carol Yan, M.D., of UC San Diego Health, said in a news release.

Read the full study.

Treatment with compassionate-use remdesivir led to clinical improvement in 68 percent of patients with severe COVID-19, according to data published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Data were available for 53 patients in the United States, Europe, Canada and Japan who received at least one dose of remdesivir during January 25 through March 7, 2020. Thirty patients were receiving mechanical ventilation at baseline, and four were receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. At a median of 18 days, 68 percent of patients improved in oxygen-support class. Nearly half of the patients were discharged, and seven patients (13 percent) died.

"Although data from several ongoing randomized, controlled trials will soon provide more informative evidence regarding the safety and efficacy of remdesivir for Covid-19, the outcomes observed in this compassionate-use program are the best currently available data," the authors write.

Read the full study.