Given the slowdown in the community spread of the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus, many of us are breathing a huge sigh of relief. Part of the reason for this drop in numbers is the hot, humid weather than we’ve had.

This virus can’t spread as easily when the humidity is high, it doesn’t like heat — coronaviruses are cool weather viruses — and ventilation helps to protect us as well. However, without meaning to sound like a Grinch, I would remind people of what happened last year at this time. We saw a drop in case numbers, let down our guard too much, and the resulting third wave led to the situation in January this year where we almost needed to decide who would be given a chance to live or who we would have to let die because our resources were stretched so thin.

  • The advantage we have this year is the vaccine program, so in combination with the appropriate and timely relaxation of the restrictions, we have a real chance to finally stop this virus. But for this to happen we’ll need to vaccinate our children too. Why? Because even though, for the most part, kids seem to have a less serious infection when they are infected by the Sars-Cov-2 coronavirus, there still have been deaths across Canada in children from this illness. Also, we have seen that even if the child has a mild case of COVID-19, they run the risk of developing the multisystem inflammatory condition (MIS-C), which has led to hospitalizations, ICU admissions and death.

Kids have also had serious long-term symptoms after recovering from COVID-19. So to protect our children, we need them to be vaccinated. We also need them to be protected to protect us. If they can get the illness, no matter how mild, they can spread the illness to others who may not be able to be vaccinated, or in whom the vaccine hasn’t worked.

Furthermore, every time the virus makes copies of itself in the person it’s infected, there’s the chance of a new and more dangerous variant appearing, which could put all of our efforts so far at risk. So for all these reasons we must vaccinate the 12-17 year olds and keep our proven risk reducing measures in place until they are vaccinated.

Prom night may therefore be a lot different from pre-COVID-19 proms. Don’t be surprised if soon we vaccinate children down to the age of 6 months for those studies are ongoing and we expect results soon.

Multisystem inflammatory condition (MIS-C)

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing these symptoms: Fever; abdominal pain; vomiting; diarrhea; neck pain; rash; bloodshot eyes; feeling extra tired.

Be aware that not all children will have all the same symptoms. According to the Centers for Disease Control and prevention (CDC), seek emergency care right away if your child is showing any of these emergency warning signs of MIS-C or other concerning signs: Trouble breathing; pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away; new confusion; inability to wake or stay awake; pale, gray, or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds, depending on skin tone; severe abdominal pain.

Coping with loneliness using sound

One of the consequences of the lockdowns and the social distancing has been the loneliness and isolation that so many have suffered from and continue to feel even now. Efforts to reach out and connect to people by phone or across a backyard are essential but it turns out that there is something that you can do to help yourself if you are feeling alone. Crank up the noise!

As reported in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, listening to louder sounds made people feel less isolated and closer to others. So whether it’s your radio, the TV, or your favourite music, crank up the sound and it may help to make you feel less alone.

Dr. Mitch Shulman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at McGill Medical School as well as an Attending Physician in the Emergency Department of the McGill University Health Centre. He’s also the CJAD AM 800 Medical Consultant.

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