Are you doing your COVID research?
One of the most time-consuming jobs as a parent is doing the research. Parents research schools, sports leagues, food choices, and neighborhoods. Maybe they are also vigilant about researching the movies their kids want to watch or the music they listen to.
If parents care at all about raising healthy, well-adjusted kids, then researching is a very important part of the job.
In the wake of COVID-19, there are many more areas where parents must do their research. If not, they are left to the mercy of the news media and social media channels to do their thinking for them.
The problem with depending on those two sources is that the news media knows that bad news sells (The Good News About Bad News). So they will often focus only on the negative, which may be a mere fraction of the whole picture and ignore the positive, which is much more overwhelming. Every piece they write has an ulterior motive….to attract readers. Unfortunately, readers are much more interested in knowing what has gone wrong rather than what has gone right.
Social media and news sources have been caught lying, stretching the truth, sensationalizing, and playing on people’s fears over and over again in the past few months of this pandemic. Honestly, we should all be fed up with it.
Another problem with relying on social and news media for all your information is that the “experts” are always contradicting each other, so parents are left wondering, “what’s really best for my child? For our family?” Who the heck are we supposed to believe when two “experts” express opposing views?
This is why parents–all of us, actually–MUST do our own research, especially when it comes to COVID precautions. Perhaps it may take more time than just accepting things at face value, but then again I’m pretty sure that if parents substituted scrolling through facebook and instagram with researching the facts, the time would be a wash.
What Exactly Should Parents Research Regarding the Pandemic?
During the past several months, I’ve listened to a lot of parents expressing their concerns and here are the issues they are most concerned about:
Should my kids return to school? This is the NUMBER ONE question that parents are asking right now. I hear them arguing both sides of the issue.
Should my kids wear masks?
Should my kids go to parties and camps?
Should my kids play sports?
It is tempting to just go to facebook forums and ask for other parents’ opinions. But those platforms usually don’t offer a lot of pure facts; they only offer opinions, fears, and ungrounded assumptions.
Here’s How to do the Research
Pinpoint a few sites that provide statistics and facts, not conjecture. Here are a few.
CDC. The purpose of the Centers for Disease Control, part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, is to protect Americans from health threats. Although I’m not 100% trusting of the CDC, their facts are at least not accompanied by media hype.
FDA. The FDA works to protect public health by regulating the safety of food, drugs, medical devices, and other consumer products. The FDA has a COVID-19 information center.
NIH. The purpose of the National Institute of Health is to expand medical and scientific knowledge that can be used to protect and improve public health. They conduct and fund biomedical research. The NIH’s COVID-19 information center can be found here.
HHS. The United States Department of Health and Human Services is designed to protect and enhance the well-being of all Americans by providing services and supporting advances in public health, medicine, and social services. The HHS’s COVID-19 information center can be found here.
Your State’s Health Department. Check your state’s department of health website for up-to-date instructions and information. The full list of state health department websites can be found here.
County and City Health Departments. The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) maintains a comprehensive directory with contact information for your local health department officials.
Listen to Doctors, scientists and medical experts. Anytime I see a video (okay, I admit I do see them on Facebook!) with a doctor, scientist or other medical expert talking about COVID, I usually listen. They are on the front lines, they have done the research, and they see what is really happening. A google search will help you find experts that are talking about the pandemic.
Be sure to listen to people who can back their statements up with statistical facts. This article is an example of one that does an in-depth job of looking at the numbers. Don’t waste your time on anyone who does not have verified facts to back up what they are saying.
Contrast, Compare, and Decide What’s Best For You
There’s no need to read all of these sites every day. Maybe check a couple of times a week if you are tracking numbers. But when you are seeking a specific answer, then use them as your information source, not a Facebook forum.
Undoubtably you may come across conflicting information. Some experts think masks are the answer, others say they are not necessary for everyone. There will even be some conflict about the wisdom of sending kids back to school in the fall, but that is a decision you must make based on the FACTS in your area and the facts of other countries who have reopened their schools.
The results of parents doing factual research about COVID is that they can make an informed decision about what’s best for their family. Parents have a responsibility to ensure that the news they consume — and the decisions they make based on that information — is accurate and reliable. To keep yourself and your community safe, remember to second-guess questionable information you read on social media, and check these trustworthy and reputable resources for the latest information.
YOU decide what’s best for your family based on the FACTS that you’ve taken the time to research, not on the sensational headlines and not on the FEAR that alarmists in the media and on social media will try to instill. Don’t let anyone else make that decision for you.
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