While the U.S. has been battling the novel coronavirus pandemic for months, it continues to spread across the country and many questions remain about how the virus affects children.
Now, with more data, doctors and experts are able to draw some conclusions about the coronavirus' impact on kids.
To help break it all down, Dr. Edith Bracho-Sanchez, an assistant professor of pediatrics and director of the pediatric telemedicine program with Columbia University Medical Center, spoke with ABC News' Janai Norman the "GMA" Instagram account to answer the top questions on parents' minds.
The number one misconception right now is that children are immune from COVID-19.
"Some kids are not having a fun time right now with these conversations," said Bracho-Sanchez. "I have been seeing some kids that are really struggling with anxiety, that are really scared about going back to school. And I know the parents are juggling so many things … But just don't forget to include them in those conversations. And don't forget to ask, 'how are you feeling about this?'"
From the importance of mask-wearing and going back to school, to how to have safe social gatherings and resources for parents, Bracho-Sanchez tackles some of the most common questions parents have right now.
Watch the full conversation below and read on for Bracho-Sanchez's edited responses.
What do we know now that we didn't know a few months ago?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: At the beginning of this global pandemic, the initial data was coming was out of China and all we had was numbers. When you looked at the percentage of kids that were affected in China, it was a very, very small percentage of the total number of cases.
We know today that kids can get COVID-19. They can absolutely catch it, they can get sick from it, but the vast majority don't. The vast majority either have no symptoms or they have a very mild illness. A small percentage of kids can get very sick from COVID-19 and a very, very rare, very small percentage of those kids die for COVID-19.
Now, we also know the kids can transmit it. That's right. So all three can happen. 1. They can get it. 2. They can get sick from it. 3. And they can pass it on. We are still learning how likely kids are to get it and to pass it on, but as parents are hearing and all of this information, just remember, it's pieces of the puzzle, but we just have to do the absolutely safest thing for kids and that is to keep them from getting COVID-19.
What is the differences in how kids of different ages are impacted, if they do get it?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: Newborns and small infants have not really been getting COVID-19 very much, if at all. But when they get it, they do seem to be at risk of serious complications. Newborn children, thankfully, don't seem to be getting it from their moms, which I think is important to remember.
In the infant group, like under one (years old), it really seems like they're at high risk too, but we don't have that much data. And when you get older than that, the small little kids, they seem to be doing OK. They seem to be having only a very mild illness.
For the majority of cases, the small children, the toddlers seem to be doing OK.
And the teens, unfortunately, because some teens are you know, they're larger although they're not quite adults, but they are larger people. So we've seen more of the teens getting sick and especially teens with what we call comorbidities, which I think the general public has learned this word unfortunately through this pandemic.
Facemasks. Are they just as effective for kids as they are for adults?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: We have to do the safest thing that has been proven to work and that is wearing masks, among many other things that we'll talk about. But you have to wear them, they are effective. Exactly how they compare kids versus adults, I don't have that kind of new data, but what I can tell you for sure is that they work and that we need to be training kids to wear them. In fact, a lot of kids are doing a lot better with their masks than the adults are.
What are some things that parents need to be in mind when it comes to vetting whether they should be comfortable enough with the school's plan to send their kid back to school?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: It's such a tough, tough situation that we've put parents in this country in. I really feel for parents out there who are having to go through this right now.
The main thing is you have to start by looking at your community. Has your community managed to control this virus? And what I mean by that, is the case number going down? Is it staying down? And then another marker that school districts are using to determine whether it's safe to open or reopen, are positivity rates. And if the positivity rates from all of the tests that are being sent out, What percentage is coming back positive?
A lot of districts have said no more than five percent is safe to reopen. So pay attention to that to give you a sense of how your community is doing, and then take into account your personal circumstances. If you live with an older relative because you live in a multi-generational household, and one of your older relatives has a health condition that predisposes them to getting very severe illness if they were to contract COVID-19, that's something you have to take into account. So I think it's both the community and it's your personal circumstance as a family.
What about daycares? How about parents with those younger children?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: Some parents need to send their kids to daycare. It's not sustainable to watch a small child at home and work from home. So I think some parents are in the position of they have to. What I would say is, again, look at the positivity rates in your community and then look at the measures that the daycare's taking and the number of kids that are coming into that daycare.
Unfortunately, I hate to say this, but what are the other families that are sending kids to that same daycare doing? Are these families that are taking precautions? Are these families that are wearing a mask? Do you know them? I have many friends and patients who have chosen to send their kids to small daycares and it's because the community rates are down and because they know that the people that send their kids the daycare are doing their best to really keep themselves and their family from contracting COVID-19.
What do you say to those families where there are birthday parties and grandparents that want to see the kids, these things that we're used to and it's been so long. How do they handle those?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: I think the best thing you can do is, again, what is everyone doing, right? If we're all going to get together in two weeks, what can we do now or in a week? Right. What can we do now? Do we live in a community that has controlled the COVID? I sound like a broken record, but it's so important. Do we live in a community that has control of this?
This is not an option in many communities across this country, and it needs to be: do you have the option to get tested? I know that as I'm saying this it won't be easy to follow these recommendations for a lot of families in this country, but as much as you can try to be careful in the days and weeks leading up to gathering with family members.
What would you say is the number one misconception when it comes to kids and COVID-19?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: Unfortunately, I'm going to have to say that the number one misconception right now is that children are immune from COVID-19. And that is because, again, unfortunately, this country's leadership has echoed that message, which was labeled as misinformation. It's unfortunate that not only that they're spreading misinformation, but some of this is becoming politicized.
It's not just data that show us that kids can get this virus and can become very ill in a small percentage of cases, but it's also a little bit insulting for those of us who have been on the ground witnessing how devastating this can be, who have met the people, who have met the beautiful families that have been affected by this.
What are some good resources for parents?
Dr. Bracho-Sanchez: I would say the CDC website is one, the WHO website, I think people have become familiar with both. The American Academy of Pediatrics has done a really good job of compiling information for parents. Their website for parents, is healthychildren.org, and you can find the latest up to date information.
Visit our "GMA" Back-to-School Guide for the latest news on schools reopening, and for experts' advice and answers to safety questions.