If Your Kids Have Coronavirus Questions, The NYT's Science Reporter Has Answers

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Watching the world shut down around us has been hard on everyone in lots of ways. But parents of young children have the additional challenge of trying to explain what is happening in a way that little kids can understand—without also causing them to feel fear or anxiety. Luckily, the New York Times’ podcast is here to help today.

Carl Zimmer, a science reporter who has studied and written about viruses for 30 years, spent an episode answering kids questions about the coronavirus on the Times’ news podcast, The Daily.

The questions, from kids as young as four years old, include:

  • What is a virus?

  • How did the coronavirus get on Earth?

  • Does it have a specific colour?

  • Why do the people have the pandemic in their body?

  • What does the virus feel like? What does it do to your body?

  • How did the coronavirus start?

  • Is there anyway we can come up with a vaccine or a medicine that cures people?

If your kids are asking lots of questions about the pandemic, it could be good for them to listen to this episode and hear other kids across the country asking the same questions. Zimmer’s answers are both thorough and age-appropriate—and they’re interesting for adults, too. Things I learned from Zimmer today: the coronavirus originated in bats, they’re testing possible treatments on ferrets, and the virus is colourless.


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