Health

Older Caregivers May be at Higher Risk of Coronavirus

Image: Ted Kerwin (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en)

As the US continues to reopen schools in different states, the medical community has warned people about the new risks and challenges including those for older caregivers including grandparents raising their grandchildren, who may be at a significantly higher risk of coronavirus than before.

According to some reports on the reopening of schools, the number of coronavirus cases in children has risen ever since they have returned to formal education. The experts had already warned about the increased cases of infection in kids if educational institutes are reopened as many of the schools simply cannot follow certain rules and accommodate all enrolled students.

Several pictures of huge crowds of children in schools have been circulating on the internet and popular social media websites, showing that the suggested preventive measures for coronavirus are not being followed, which can put both the children and those who they come in contact with at risk.

On the issue, people have argued that research has shown that the chances of the severe form of coronavirus in children are low in comparison with adults. Therefore, even if a child gets sick, the need for hospitalization, and the risk of life-threatening complications is low.

However, the real danger, according to health experts, lies for the adults that come in contact with children. While kids may have lower chances of being hospitalized due to severe coronavirus infection, they can still transmit it to others around them.

In fact, recent studies have shown that children actually carry more virus in their throats, nose, lungs, and mouth than adults. Consequently, they can spread the coronavirus infection to other kids or adults much easily. This includes school teachers, administrative staff, janitors, bus drivers, and other workers.

Also read: Increased Outbreak of Diseases Expected in Children as Schools Reopen 

At home, children can easily infect parents and caregivers. The risk is especially high in older caregivers and grandparents.

Statistically, over two million grandparents in the US are currently the primary caregivers of their grandkids. If the children are sent back to schools, there is a big chance that the grandparents can contract the virus easily. The decision of reopening schools may, therefore, put such families in a difficult situation.

For most older caregivers, sending children back to school may not be a choice for their own safety especially those who are not only old but have underlying conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

While this decision can decrease the likelihood of children getting infected and bringing the virus home, it has other drawbacks. Keeping kids from going to school and affect their social skills and development. As a result, children can experience emotional distress and negative behavioral changes.

Schools play a vital role in the social development of children as well as in dealing with other potential problems at home and even consume a nutritious diet.

On the other hand, online classes can lower the chances of not only coronavirus but also other expected disease outbreaks amongst children in fall. Staying at home may even give a chance for parents and caregivers to talk to their children and form stronger bonds.

The debate on the reopening of schools for children and the higher risk of coronavirus in older adults and grandparents is still ongoing and may keep the institutes from opening in some states.

About the author

Abeera I. Kazmi

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