Pediatrician urges parents to take coronavirus precautions seriously heading into summer

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Memphis parents and children emerge from pandemic isolation, many like Jenny Robertson and her kids, Lily and Tate, want to know how to still play it safe in a summer of sun, surf and coronavirus.

“I’m most concerned about when it’s safe for the kids to go back to school, go to camp and be around other people,” Robertson said. “We’re trying to be as careful as possible.”

Children will likely say they want to spend more time outdoors.

“I’m playing with my friends, but it’s hard to do because the parks are closed, so we can’t do too much, and we have to stay apart, and we can’t touch each other,” 9-year-old Lily said.

“I just keep washing my hands and wearing my mask around and make sure I stay six feet away from everyone at all times,” 12-year-old Tate said.

Dr. Jason Yaun, a pediatrician at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, said now is not the time to let down your guard against COVID-19.

“Not yet,” he said. “We still think that children are carriers of the disease, even though they are asymptomatic and have a more mild disease.”

But many parents are worried about a new COVID-19-related illness affecting some children called multi-inflammatory syndrome.

“I think the inflammatory syndrome that’s been in the news and still rare at this point has been a wakeup call to parents that we are seeing some of the effects in children,” Dr. Yaun said.

When it comes to summer camps, pediatricians said parents need to make sure the camps are looking for symptoms, doing temperature checks, requiring face masks and social distancing.

“I think you need to be asking the questions of what they’re doing to prevent the spread of disease and to keep children safe make sure they’re following CDC guidelines,” Dr. Yaun said.

Just like for adults, Dr. Yaun said children should be tested for COVID-19.

“We still need to be cautious so we can keep moving in the right direction and get to a more normal childhood summer,” he said.

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