The virus is a small, tiny microorganism, so small that it cannot be seen. Viruses make us sick, but they can do nothing on their own – they must live inside another creature (host) to survive. For that to happen they need to first enter our cells.
What is a COVID virus?
You may have noticed that adults talk about “COVID virus”. There is a new type of virus that is spreading around the world. It is called COVID virus because “the C which stands for corona” means “crown” in Latin, and the virus looks like it has a prickly crown on it. It mainly causes people to cough, feel tired and have a high fever. But older people and people with certain health conditions can get very sick. The disease caused by the virus is called COVID-19.
Where did the COVID virus come from?
The virus was first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan last December. But the virus is thought to have originated in bats. From them, it jumped to another kind of animal, which was passed on to humans. No one knows for sure what this mysterious animal was, but some people think it may have been a pangolin, an animal covered in shells that ate ants.
How do I know if I have the virus?
There is a special test to check if anyone has COVID-19. If you feel bad, tell your parents. They will call a doctor to tell them if you need to be tested. It’s like a flu test: they put a cotton ball in your nose and check for the virus in the discharge. The results are ready the next day.
How can I help?
You can help stop the virus by washing your hands regularly. Wash your hands with soap and rub well. You need to clean all the fingers, between the fingers and under the nails. You can sing a song that lasts about 20 seconds to know how long to wash them. Also, remember to keep your hands away from your face – it means not rubbing your eyes and nose and not putting your hands in your mouth. Thus, if you happen to have some of the virus in your hands, you will not allow it to enter your body and make you sick. Remember to cough and sneeze while covering with your elbow and stay home if you are sick.
Should I worry?
There is no need to worry, as adults work hard to protect children and other adults. Even if you get the virus, children usually do not get much of it. It is more like a mild cold. Nevertheless, you still have an important role to play in protecting others! Older people, like grandparents, need your help to stay healthy. This means that you should wash your hands and sit at home if you are sick. You may not need to go to school if teachers and other responsible adults decide it is best. This will slow down the spread of the virus and protect the elderly and sick.
What is being done to be safe?
Doctors and government officials work hard to protect families. They may therefore ask people to cancel events, such as sporting events. They can close schools to prevent the virus from spreading. They may tell you not to stand close to other people when you are out. Such tips make it difficult for the virus to jump from one person to another. If the virus cannot spread, fewer people will get sick. Doctors also take great care of the sick. Scientists are trying to make a vaccine against the COVID virus, similar to the vaccines you regularly get from a doctor, and medicines for the sick.
Until when will the schools be closed?
The COVID virus is most easily spread in groups of large numbers of people. Such places are the schools, where you go every day to classes with a large number of your classmates. Therefore, in order to protect students and school staff from the virus, the principals decided to temporarily close all schools. It is not known exactly how long this will last. However, you should remember that even if you do not go to school, you should not act as if you are on vacation. You need to sit at home and see your friends less often to protect yourself and others from the virus. As long as you do not go to school, you can still continue to study. Teachers can give you lessons and homework. Some teachers may even choose to take classes online. You can also request interesting books from the library, or watch a number of educational shows on television or online.
Can I see my friends?
If you have to sit at home, meeting friends can be more difficult. However, there are various ways to keep in touch, over the phone or online. You probably know how to do this, and if you do not, you can ask an adult to help you. And you can be creative and come up with interesting ways. You can always find a way to play and have fun with friends, even without meeting in person. If you are allowed to meet friends, it will probably have to be in small groups. So, for now, no birthday parties. Wide-open spaces like parks, where you can be quite far from the rest, are probably the best choice.
When will the spreading of the COVID virus end?
Unfortunately, we do not know exactly. Using mathematics, we can make assumptions. When the end comes, your parents will tell you. Until then, be exemplary and good children and listen to your parents.