Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, kids have questions.
Twitter user @Dave_Kellerman took to social media with a handwritten letter from his eight-year-old son Michael addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“I hope that your wife is OK,” the note, dated March 18, reads. “I was surprised to hear that she had the virus. I do not want it to get to you.”
Michael had a few questions for the prime minister.
“I would like to ask you a couple questions about the coronavirus. What are the possibilities of all the people in Canada getting sick? Also, what are you doing to make sure the virus stays away? Please do your best,” he wrote.
“I do not want it to get to any of my grandparents. Thank you for all the hard work. Please write back.”
And write back Trudeau did. Between multiple press conferences discussing the country’s current state amid the COVID-19 outbreak, he took the time to tweet back at the boy personally.
“Thanks for your letter, Michael. Sophie feels better and I feel just fine. We’re working super hard to slow down the spread of COVID-19 and keep you, you grandparents and all Canadians safe,” the tweet reads.
“There are so many medical professionals across the country focused on that, too. But there are things everyone can do to help with this. Share this your friends: wash your hands often. Cough into your elbow. And instead of hanging out, talk on the phone for now.
“We’ll get through this together, Michael.”
Health officials in Norway have been employing similar tactics, answering children’s questions about COVID-19 during a kids-only news conference specifically designed to address their concerns.
“I know that many children think it is scary, and I understand that very well,” Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said during the conference. “It’s OK to be scared when so many things happen at the same time.”
According to We Forum, the questions at Solberg’s press conference included: “Can I have a birthday party?,” “Can I visit my grandparents after I went to a shopping centre?” and “How long does it take to make a vaccine?”
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for the new coronavirus on March 12.
“Following medical recommendations, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau was tested for COVID-19 today. The test came back positive,” Trudeau’s office said in a statement last Thursday night.
The statement said she will remain in isolation.
“She is feeling well, is taking all the recommended precautions, and her symptoms remain mild,” it said, adding that health-care workers will “reach out to those who have been in contact with Mrs. Grégoire Trudeau as they deem necessary.”
The Prime Minister’s Office’s statement also included a message from Sophie herself, thanking everyone who has reached out to her with questions about her health.
“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon,” she says in the message.
“Being in quarantine at home is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns.”
Sophie’s message also contained encouragement.
“We will get through this situation together,” she said. “Please share the facts and take your health seriously. I send you all my courage and warm thoughts (but only ‘get better’ hugs from afar!).”
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.
— With files from Global News’ Maryam ShahFollow @meaghanwray
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