Schools are closed. Playgrounds are closed. Sports are canceled.
Surely kids can hang out with a friend or two at home, right?
Pennsylvania’s health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine knows as a pediatrician and parent just how hard this advice is to practice.
But a playdate exposes families to people outside of their home who may be infected and this could help spread the coronavirus, she said Sunday.
Currently, the virus is spreading on an exponential growth trajectory, meaning the rate of the infection’s spread grows in relation to the number of people infected.
And one infected person on average can infect 2.5 people on average who each go on to infect another 2.5 people and so on. This is why social distancing is so crucial to slow the infection and halt the doubling transmissions.
“We do not want you to have playdates,” Levine said during a 1 p.m. press briefing Sunday. “That will expose the children and parents to others and could help spread the illness. … We want close family to stay together and not to have playdates, even though I do understand how difficult that is.”
Pennsylvania is nearing a total of 500 cases of COVID-19 across the state with 40 cases now reported in the Lehigh Valley. There have been two fatalities in the state, including a Northampton County man.
“The most important thing it to prevent the spread and that means people staying home,” Levine said.
It is fine to go outside or take a short walk, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health recommends people avoid crowded parks.
“If you are practicing social distancing, being outside in wonderful weather is very healthy,” Levine said.
Across the Lehigh Valley, municipalities and school districts have closed their playgrounds to limit children’s’ interactions and slow the spread.
“Practice social distancing and please stay home,” Levine said.
If you may have been exposed or exhibit the symptoms of COVID-19 – fever, cough and shortness of breath – contact your healthcare provider.
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