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Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
July 2020

COVID-19 has put everyone in a front row seat to science


Scared on a roller coaster-Parents PACK newsletter July 2020Many people will not go to amusement parks this summer. They will miss having cotton candy and popcorn. They will miss watching parades and fireworks. And, they will miss waiting in line for their favorite ride, watching as others scream with delight, or fear, as they race by; their own anticipation growing as they get closer to the front of the line. They will miss all of this because a new virus — something we can’t see with the naked eye — is lurking, threatening, and menacing. Metaphorically, this virus has placed all of us in the front seat of the highest, and longest, roller coaster of all — that of scientific discovery.

How society ended up on the roller coaster

While daily life is filled with activities and decisions seeped in scientific discovery, most don’t think about it that way. The maps that show our weather on the morning news, the pot that brews our coffee after being programmed the night before, and the vehicle we take to work are all the result of knowledge gained through scientific discovery. But, when many people think about science, they remember high school science classes rather than the process of science that leads to maps, programmable coffee pots and transportation.

When SARS-CoV-2 evolved as a new virus, the process of scientific discovery started anew. But, when the virus proved to be a danger to human life, very quickly, and by necessity, everyone became interested in this virus. Going to the internet to find answers to questions about COVID-19 was not an option. How to treat it? No. How to avoid it? Nope. How does it spread? Uh-uh. Scientific discovery was just getting started, and this, is why society is now strapped into the front seat of a roller coaster. It is why understanding how science evolves is critical. It is why thinking like a scientist can help.  

Tips, resources, and more details about the roller coaster called science

Read the article to find tips and resources for navigating the ups and downs as well as to see how science works and the roles of the media, internet, and even your social networks in what you hear about scientific discoveries.

News & Notes


Healthcare visits and vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic

While shutdowns contributed to flattening the curve and keeping ICUs from becoming overwhelmed, an unintended consequence has been a decrease in routine immunizations. So, as society reopens, some parents are wondering how to safely catch up on recommended vaccines. A new webpage was recently added to the Vaccine Education Center website to help everyone navigate catching up on vaccinations and safely getting healthcare. Titled “COVID-19: Catching Up on Recommended Vaccines and Visiting Healthcare Providers,” the new page offers the following information: 

  • Tips for catching up on vaccines
  • Additional vaccine considerations for particular age groups
  • Steps providers may be taking to protect patients from exposure to COVID-19 during visits
  • Tips for visiting provider offices during this time

Updated info about tetanus and pertussis

The Vaccine Education Center recently updated two popular Q&A sheets:

  • Tetanus: What You Should Know — Provides information about how tetanus spreads, is treated, can be prevented and more.
  • Pertussis: What You Should Know — Provides information about pertussis disease and vaccination, including the different versions of pertussis-containing vaccines (DTaP, Tdap and Td) and information on who should get the pertussis vaccine. 

World Hepatitis Day — July 28

On July 28, 2020, public health advocates will celebrate World Hepatitis Day. Their goal is to remove barriers to testing for hepatitis, eliminate stigma, and spread knowledge about hepatitis and the health complications that can occur.

Millions of people infected with viral hepatitis don’t know they have it. In fact, it is estimated that about 9 of every 10 infected people are not aware that they are infected. Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. It can be caused by viruses, alcohol, toxins, or autoimmune disorders. Five hepatitis viruses, named A, B, C, D and E, contribute to liver disease and damage. Hepatitis B and C are the most common causes of chronic liver disease, which can lead to liver cirrhosis or liver cancer. 

Find out more about hepatitis A and hepatitis B from Vaccine Education Center materials:

COVID-19 resources

Although many states are reopening, the pandemic is not over. The virus that causes COVID-19 is still infecting people throughout the U.S. and in some other parts of the world. As such, it’s important for families to remain vigilant and practice social distancing measures to protect themselves and others, particularly when returning to work, school or camp, and other activities.  

Many resources are available to provide guidance about how to do this. Here are a few from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and others. 

Protecting yourself and your family from the virus 

Returning to activities as communities reopen 

Avoiding scams

Visit ftc.gov/coronavirus/scams for the latest information on scams.

Visit coronavirus.gov for the latest information on COVID-19.

Just the Vax Trivia Corner

Which vaccine-preventable disease is not affected by herd immunity?   

  1. Influenza
  2. Measles
  3. Mumps
  4. Tetanus
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