What is the coronavirus? Can I have play dates and birthday parties? Can we help? The kids have questions! So we have gathered them up and answered them in a way the young ones will understand. We even got them to illustrate the story.

Have you heard people talking about the coronavirus? It’s a cousin of the flu, and very teeny tiny. Scientists use a microscope to see it.

Like a germ, the coronavirus lives on people’s hands or body and makes them sick. Scientists believe the virus went from an animal – they’re not sure which type – in a market in China on to a human being, who then spread it to other people. Because the coronavirus is such a good traveller it’s now all over the world.

“Why has the virus got all those red things sticking out of it on the news?”

Those red things are called “spike proteins” – they help the coronavirus get inside a body. If people catch the coronavirus they might feel hot with a fever, get a headache and a cough. They will want to cuddle up in bed. They will stay home until they feel better, and they might see a doctor. For people who are already sick it can be more serious. They may need to go to hospital. But most people won’t stay unwell for too long.

“How come children are safe from the coronavirus?”

Kids can catch the coronavirus but it doesn’t usually make them very sick. No-one really knows exactly why this is but scientists are trying to figure it out. Perhaps your young, healthy bodies are really good at fighting off the virus? We don’t know yet. But if you get it, the adults who take care of you will look after you and keep you safe.

“Why are we not getting toilet paper?”

That’s a good question, Alice, toilet paper is essential! When people are worried about something they want to feel well prepared. So some people have been buying loads of toilet paper and it means there’s not enough to go around. These adults need to get better at sharing. Shops are putting lots of toilet paper back on their shelves. In the meantime, we can get it from friends and family.

“Why is everyone wearing masks?”

Have you seen people wearing masks that cover the bottom half of their face? If you are feeling well, you don’t need to wear a mask. But people who are taking care of someone who might have the coronavirus can wear a mask to avoid catching it.

It’s OK to feel worried and nervous. Everyone has been talking about the coronavirus. Your friends might have told you lots of funny or scary stories about it. But the best people to give you the right information are adults that you trust.

Right now, your usual activities, like swimming or music, are probably cancelled. Everything is a bit topsy-turvy. But remember, your adults will take good care of you. Each family will do it differently but everyone will be looked after.

Your adults will know what to do about your birthday party. At the moment, some doctors say it’s OK for kids to play together as long as you wash your hands and don’t get too close to each other. Playing together outdoors in the fresh air could be one way to have a party. Or your party might have to happen at a later date, but it will happen.


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