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How to talk to your child about coronavirus and fear

How to talk to your child about coronavirus and fear

(Mark Schiefelbein, Associated Press)

Estimated read time: Less than a minute

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SALT LAKE CITY — News reports about a new coronavirus that has sickened thousands and killed at least 100 in China has potential to spark great fear. But experts say it’s also a chance to have a candid talk with kids about simple precautions that can prevent the spread of many illnesses, not just this one.

That’s an especially important conversation to have this time of year, when influenza is also making the rounds without much fanfare, though it kills tens of thousands each year.

Coronavirus is a category of virus so named because under a microscope it has little spikes that look like sun rays. Unlike the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV now causing concern, the category is not new; the impact in humans is typically akin to the common cold, said psychologist and professor Robin H. Gurwitch of Duke University Medical Center. But the new form that appeared abruptly and spread rapidly in Wuhan, China, then beyond among some world travelers, sparks global worry.

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Lois M. Collins


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