Kids' concerns took the fore at a Manitoba government briefing on COVID-19 April 2, with the province using some high-powered help to chat with kids.
Kids from across Manitoba sent their COVID-19 questions to doctors, who answered them via a special briefing streamed online on provincial government pages. Winnipeg radio host Ace Burpee hosted the event, bringing questions from students ranging from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa and pediatrician Dr. William Li were the medical experts on hand during the meeting. The pair were joined by two of Winnipeg’s biggest sports stars, Jets forward Patrik Laine and Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris, who helped answer some questions.
Li said a virus, like the one that causes COVID-19, is one of many germs that can make people get sick.
“With everyone traveling and moving around, the virus moved and spread across the world to here in Manitoba,” he said.
Laine and Harris explained how kids could help stop the spread of the virus.
“We need you to be the hero Manitoba needs right now,” Laine said.
“You don't want to hurt the people you care about the most you want to protect them. It only takes one infected person to infect many others.”
Harris stressed the importance of keeping distance and hand-washing.
Siragusa said one way kids can help their parents is to make sure hard surfaces like kitchen counters and phone screens are clean.
“One of the ways viruses spread is if you touch something where an infected person touched, it can travel to your hands and if you wipe your nose, it can get into your body,” she said.
Siragusa said she didn’t know how long everyone would need to stay separated.
“Try and find some fun and new ways of connecting with your friends because it's really important to stay connected with people,” she said.
Burpee passed along a question from a Grade 4 student about why people were buying a lot of toilet paper.
“It's good to have some toilet paper and other things stored up, but you don't have to go too crazy,” Siragusa said.
“We're still going to have shipments of things coming in and we can get the supplies we need. Also, other people need toilet paper.”
Grade 5 student Jersey wanted to know if his pets could catch the virus.
“As of right now, the scientists don't think that our cats or dogs can get COVID-19, or transfer it to us,” Lee said.
The full video with more questions and answers can be found on the Manitoba government’s YouTube page.