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March 14, 2022 29 mins

Ryan Gorman hosts an iHeartRadio nationwide special featuring Dr. David Banach, Associate Professor of Medicine at the UCONN School of Medicine, who answers some COIVD questions and clarifies any confusion about the latest science on the virus, vaccines, and preventative measures. Dr. Janine Domingues, Clinical Psychologist at the Child Mind Institute, also joins the show to talk about mental health among children following the pandemic and tips for discussing the situation in Ukraine with kids. 

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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Welcome to I HEART Radio Communities, a public affair special
focusing on the biggest issues impacting you this week. Here's
Ryan Gorman. Thanks for joining us here on I R
Radio Communities. I'm Ryan Gorman, and we have some important
conversations lined up for you. In a moment, I'll talk
to an infectious disease expert about some of the things

we've learned about COVID nineteen and our response to it
over the past two years. Then I'll check in with
Dr Jeanine Dominguez, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute,
for an update on the mental health issues facing kids
and parents these days. Right now, to get things started,
I'm joined by Dr David Bannock, Associate Professor of Medicine

at the Yukon School of Medicine. He's here to answer
some questions about COVID to keep coming up, and he'll
help clear up any confusion you might have these days.
Dr Bannock, thanks so much for joining me. And we're
seeing COVID cases come down quite a bit right now,
but it's also something we've seen before as part of
these waves we've experienced. What makes this drop in cases

different or could we be in for another surge soon,
So thanks for having me on. I think, UM, you know,
what we're seeing in terms of decrease in transmission is encouraging,
and I think there's some reasons for optimism. You know,
like you said, we've seen this in the past, UM,
but I think important to realize that, you know, COVID
decline in two is a little bit different than it

was in previous years. So you know, right now we're
in a situation where we have UM a lot of
the population that has some degree of immunity either through
infection or through vaccination UM, and that's encouraging and that
M is very protective against developments of your infection. And
we just have a lot of other tools and our
tool kit to double COVID and that includes things like

more widespread testing availability UM, profective treatments, prophylactic treatments for
those when indicated UM. And you know, I think we
have a better senses to what measures are effective in
reducing the spread of COVID. So you know, I think, UM,
like I said, we asking this before UM, in terms
of declining rates, particularly transitioning into the spring UM, and

I think there's a reason for optimism, but it's always
going to be a cautious optimism, you know, when we
think about what the future might look like now that
we have masking and other COVID restrictions being lifted across
the US, what are some ways that Americans can continue
to protect themselves from COVID And what have we learned
about some of the tools that we've been utilizing in
the past, their effectiveness and all of that. So I

think when we look at our tool kit for COVID prevention,
you know, I think we can divide into a few
different groups. You've got our sort of broad UM protective
measures UM, you know, things like the universal masking and
UM you know, some of the restricted physical or the
physical interaction restrictions UM. But you know, I think when

I come down to it, there's other individual protective measures
that have shown to be highly effective. So the vaccination
I think UM is first and foremost. You know, that's
really shown to be highly effective in preventing severe infections
UM hospitalization. And I think when UM, when individuals get
vaccinated and also receive a booster when they're eligible, that
even provides a higher level of protection against infection overall,

and also has the potential to reduce transmission UM to
others even if one does develop a break to infection.
So I think vaccination and the boosters are still at
the forefront UM. And then you know, other types of measures,
preventive measures so that those who are you know, compromised.
We now have prophylactic UM therapies, so we have monoicrmal

antibodies that we give UM as a means of preventing
covid UM in those who are you compromised and may
not respond to the vaccine. So I think, you know,
in terms of therapeutics UM, that is a big measure
that I think can be really impactful. And then you know,
I think, UM, we've learned a lot about what we
as individuals can do to try to reduce transmission, and

that includes things like avoiding people who are UM symptomatic,
who are ill, and then of course if one does
become m you know, trying to isolate and stay away
from others to prevent the spread of covid and that
applies to other infections as well. So I think, you know,
there's a lot of different things that we've learned UM
that are still applicable UM and still very relevant, you know,

as we think about moving back on those broader preventive
measures like the masking and the physical distancing and reducing
physical interactions. I'm Ryan Gorman, joined by Dr David Banneck,
Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yukon School of Medicine
and hospital epidemiologists at the Yukon John Dempsey Hospital. Going

back to the vaccines for a moment and their impact
on potential transmission of the virus, because this was something
when the vaccines were first rolled out, there seemed to
be a line of thinking that they're going to help
prevent the spread of the virus. We've learned they're very
good at preventing severe illness, what do we know of

about how they impact transmissibility, So I think, you know,
that's a that's a really important question and one that
we're still learning more and more about each day. So
when the vaccines first became available, um, the data was
really promising that they did reduce transmission quite well in
addition to preventing severe infections and hospitalizations. You know, as

we moved into the most recent days with the omicron variant,
and you know that variant being highly contagious. We were
seeing individuals with vaccinated and developed UM infection even after
vaccination and sometimes even after boosters, and I think, UM,
you know that we needed some more information to look
at the risk of those individuals in terms of transmission
UM to others. And you know, I think there's a

couple of pieces of data that have been recently published
that are encouraging. So one study that was recently published
UM looked at a marker of viral load in people
that developed infection after being vaccinated with the booster even
during the omicron period and found that UM it seemed
those those individuals who did develop breakthrough or an infection

after UM being vaccinated, UM, it looks like they have
lower levels of virus UM and therefore UM it seems
like they would be less transmissible to others UM. So
so that was encouraging UM. And then a subsequent study
was very recently published that looked at the risk of
household transmission UM and found that if an individual in

a household did develop COVID after being vaccinated and boostered UM,
their risk of transmitting to other people in the household
is lower that if that individuals developed COVID in the
absence of getting a vaccine and a booster UM. So
it does seem that there's both sort of the biological
basis as well as some of the epidemiology data that
points towards the reduced transmission. But you know, admitticably it's

an important area that we're going to have to really track,
particularly in the future UM as we start to UM
you know, look at the appearance of the potential appearance
of mutations and new variants and how that might um
effect the way that we think about vaccines and transmission.
Let me ask you a similar question about masks, because
early on we were told that cloth masks were helpful

in preventing the spread or reducing the transmissibility of the
virus the likelihood that you would spread the virus if
you were infected with COVID nineteen. More recently, we've been
told that cloth masks aren't the way to go, that
the N ninety masks, those are the best ones. They've
always been the best ones, but those are really the
ones that you need to be wearing now. Is that

because we've learned more about the science behind masking. Is
it because of the variance delta and omicron becoming even
more transmissible. What can you tell us about masks? So
you know, I think, um, you know, just like vaccines,
masks is an area that we have UM learned a
lot over the last couple of years. So you know,

the initial discussion on masks really focused on using them
as source control, which basically UM, the idea being that
if an individual is symptomatic or infected and maybe pre symptomatic, UM,
they would be less likely to spread if they're wearing
a mask UM, and that in that role, the cloth
masks can be very effective. UM. You know, I think UH,

as we learn more about how the virus spreads, you
know that there is the capability of aerosols in addition
to droplets. UM. When we're thinking about masks that actually
protect the wearer, UM, that's where the the higher filtration
masks can be more effective. So UM, you know, things
like ninety five mass and K and ninety five masks

that have a higher level of filtration and a better
fit UM seem to be more effective in protecting the
wearer against COVID infection. And you know, I think a
lot of that is based on sort of improving our
understanding of how this virus spreads and the types of
particles that contain the virus. So you know, I think, UM,
you know, when it comes to individualized protection, UM, the

data is supported that those higher vaulted mass are are
really the way to go. And you know, fortunately they're
becoming increasingly available UM the people that that are seeking
to wear them. So you know, I think, you know,
will continue to learn more about masks and the science
will continue to evolve. UM and uh, you know, as
we move forward. I'm Ryan Gorman, joined by Dr David Banneck,

Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yukon School of Medicine
and Hospital epidemiologist at the Yukon John Dempsey Hospital. On
the transmission of the virus. We had been told that
interactions that lasted for an extended period of time at
very close range that's when you were most likely to

contract COVID nineteen. Is that still the case or have
we learned more about the science behind that. So you know,
when we first, um, I saw this virus, we reflected
on what we knew about other viruses in terms of
the way to transmit, and that includes things like the
FOO virus m as well as other coronaviruses that appeared

before UM, this particular stars copy two virus. So what
we knew is that really UM large droplets seem to
be playing the main role in the way that those
viruses spread to others, and that UM close contact, particularly
for prolonged period of times, is really the UM the
way that these viruses spread. And you know, I think

what's what we've learned is that that still remains the
case that the highest risk for transmission is still close
contact UM, particularly you know, one person is infected and
the other person UM is not masked, or and actually
both parties are not masked. That's really the highest risk
for transmission. And I think what we've also learned though
over time is that UM, you know, this virus seems

to be a little bit different UM in terms of
its ability to UM to travel in aerosols. And that's
particularly true in areas where the ventilation is poor, where
the virus may be able to UM suspend in the
air a little bit longer and travel a little bit
further distance UM and in fact others through that way
through that mechanism. So you know, I think, uh, we

still have a basic understanding that close contact through and
transmission through droplets is really the main UM way that
the virus spreads, but there is a potential for longer
distance UM as well through aerosols. So you know, I
think the principles are still the same in terms of
the overall risk, but you know, there may be UM

other factors to consider as well. UM in thinking about
the overall picture. Should we be concerned about the possibility
of new variants? We've obviously just dealt with delta and
then O macron, but what about something new popping up? Well,
you know, I think we need to be mindful of variants.
You know, I think, UM, you know, the omicron variant
did take take us a surprise of it, you know,

seeing a variant that had so many mutations and seem
to be very highly contagious. UM. You know, really UM
surprised a lot of people. UM. And I think we
need to be mindful that this virus has an ability
to change and they continue to do so in the future,
you know, I think. UM. The other piece of this
is that we have much more robust systems now in

terms of tracking variants, So it's hard to believe that
two years ago, UM, we saw an entirely new virus
and we're just developing, like the earliest types of tests
to be able to detect the virus. And now we
have very robust UM surveillance able to detect new variants
as they start to appear. UM even moving outside of
clinical specimens, moving into things like wastewater test getting where

we can start to really identify variants very early on
UM if new variants should appear. So I think the
overall messages that we went we need to be mindful
that new variants can appear, you know, and UM we
have to have systems in place to be able to
detect them, which fortunately UM we do. And you know,
I think we have to be attentive to what we're
hearing in terms of new variants. You know, we've seen

a lot of variants that have appeared and then regressed
pretty quickly, and others like amicron that really took hold,
and you know, something gold just have to keep an
on UM and if we start to see another variant
UM spread quickly, you know, we'll have to respond accordingly.
One last thing I wanted to touch on real quick
long COVID. What do we know about that and what
are some of the symptoms associated with long covid so UM.

You know, long covid um is an area that I
think we're still trying as a medical community to really
get a quind of understanding them, UM, the clinical manifestations
and the long term prognosis. You know, we we see
individuals who have covid um and then developed constellation of
different symptoms afterwards UM, and they can include things like

UM respiratory symptoms like worsening breathing, ongoing shots of breath,
respiratory fatigue UM, as well as kind of generalized fatigue
and UM you know, other symptoms as well. So you know,
I think we're still in the very early phase of
understanding UM long covid and UM what what it means

in terms of symptoms, but you know, in terms of
treatment even in earlier phase. So I think there's a
lot of different areas of study going on looking at
different strategies for helping patients who have symptoms of long
covid and UM. You know, My hope is that we'll
be able to develop studies and actually collect the data
on these individuals in terms of their symptoms and their

outcomes and their treatments to really find what's the most
beneficial for helping these uh, these individuals? All right? Dr
David Bannock Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yukon School
of Medicine Hospital epidemiologists at Yukon John Dempsey Hospital. He's
also the medical director for Infection Prevention. Dr Bannock, thank
you so much for coming on the show and breaking

all of that down force. We really appreciate it. Oh,
thank you for inviting me on. All right, once again,
I'm Ryan Gorman here on i RDIO Communities. And finally
let's turn to Dr Jeanine Dominguez, a clinical psychologist at
the Child Mind Institute. You can learn more child Mind
dot org. Dr Dominguez, thanks so much for joining and
first of all, can you give us an overview of

how the Child Mind Institute came about and the work
that you do. Sarah, thank you so much for having me. So.
The child is a national profit organization really dedicated to
transforming children's mental health and working with families and children
that may be struggling with mental health or learning disorders.
And we do that in three different ways. We really

do that through research and understanding the science behind mental health,
so that way we can really understand how to diagnose
and get proper treatment for children and families and needs.
We do that through public education, so really working on
desigmatizing what mental health means so that way we can
really get the word out there and helping families and

children really receive the services that are are warranted. And
then we do that through our evidence based clinical care.
So really seeing again children and families and working with
them on uh, getting better and working through their struggles.
Has the focus and the work that you do had
to change or pivot at all because of the pandemic

over the past two years, Yes, certainly so. I think
the greatest pivot we've had to make was during lockdown
due to the pandemic and switching our work to telehealth. UM.
But I think we see that as a as a
little bit of a silver lining in the sense that
we've learned that we can really still deliver evidence based

treatments and work to families and children via telehealth and
actually get to folks UM that might otherwise have a
harder time coming to us to our clinic. So UM,
we've had to pivot our work in that way and
still do a hybrid model where we see folks and
families in person, but also through telemedicine and telehealth. Um AND,

I think in general we've just seen an increase in need.
Is certainly we've seen families and children be affected by
the pandemic in many ways. UM AND we work a
lot with schools and communities to our school and community
programs and being able to disseminate mental health resources as
we're seeing an increase in needs when it comes to

some of the issues that children are dealing with these days, again,
especially after all they've been through during the course of
this pandemic, what are some of the challenges that you're
seeing the most. Yeah, I think that's a great question.
I would say one of the bigger challenges is really
UM in terms of just general anxiety that we're seeing
an increase in anxiety depression with our youth. UM you know,

the having a destabilization of of routine and going to
school certainly we know increases the sense of anxiety. So
right now, it really has been helping families and children
just get back to what normal might seem like and
going back to school. So a lot of of our
work has been helping children of families get back into

that routine, getting back to school, um, and really helping
them again get a sense of being back to normal.
I'm Ryan Gorman, joined by Dr Jannine Domingez, a clinical
psychologist at the Child Mind Institute. You can learn more
at child mind dot org. Some of the learning loss

that we're seeing among children due to the disruption caused
by the pandemic, how is that impacting them and even
parents and in particular the mental health of these kids. Yeah,
I think that it's uh, the learning loss that we've
seen for some children certainly impacts mental health. I think

first and foremost, it impacts their desire and their motivation
to go to school in many ways, especially if they're
feeling behind, feeling like they can't catch up, and I
think oftentimes parents are at a loss around how to
best help their child get back there. Um. And so
one of the things that we certainly work on is

again just addressing that mental health component, working with schools
and helping them to provide potentially the services and the
accommodations needed for certain kids who are coming back to
school and feeling a bit lost. Um. But for the
most part, I would I would say that children have

been incredibly resilient, and so while there is a portion
of children that we see that are struggling, a majority
are doing okay and actually have been resilient and have
been able to get back to school. Um, And I
think just being in person has been a great way
of really feeling connected within a community. I think school

not only provides academic learning, but it also provides a
lot of other developmental needs like connection with friends, um
having a teen, so I think that's been a great
benefit of being back at the school. And on that point,
there's certainly more of a return to normal happening these days,
but there's also a new normal that we're seeing for

some parents. They're working now a hybrid schedule where they
go into work sometimes but then they're home sometimes working.
Some parents now are working from home exclusively. How does
a change like that potentially impact the mental health of kids?
And also, with parents being around their kids more now,

does that give them an opportunity to perhaps keep an
eye out for certain behaviors that they may notice that
could be problematic. Yeah, I think that there is a
hope that potentially the hybrid model for some working parents
could be one of benefit where there is more involvement
with school and how their children are doing and faring. UM.

I think it all uh really depends on creating those
boundaries and those teams. So even if a parent is
working from home, there is something to be set for
a work life balance and really creating those those boundaries
UM as well, since we know from the pandemic parents
trying to do it all all at the same time

also creates a lot of stress, So it is important
for parents to also manage their own expectations, their own
stress levels, really creating those those boundaries that can be
really important. UM. And hopefully again another silver lining to
to the pandemic and potentially working from home or being
together as a family is being a bit more involved

and really touching base and having open minds of communication
with with their children and seeing how how that states
they can help. I'm Ryan Gorman, joined now by Dr
Jeanine Dominguez, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute.
Right now, you have inflation at record levels, prices, high

gas prices, we know, really high right now, putting a
lot of pressure on families across the country. Parents dealing
with that extra stress, the weight of these increased prices
on their budgets. Can you talk a little bit about
how that could impact kids and their mental health and
maybe some things for parents to keep in mind to

make sure that the stress they're feeling doesn't rub off
on their kids too much. Yeah. Absolutely. I parents vibe off,
you know, their their children, and children vibe offs their parents.
And so I often talk to parents about being, you know,
as much as possible that low model or that model
of of calm, even when things can be really stressful.

So it is important for parents to really try to
create that space where they're checking in with themselves, UM,
and being mindful of how they might be presenting to
their children or what they're talking about around their children. UM.
For sure that there has been an increase in stress
given everything that's happening these days, and so children might

also have more questions around what might be happening. And
I think it's always best to have honest conversations but
also limited to the information that they need, and also
rooting them in what they know in their day to day.
So it's important to keep again to those teens daytime routine,
nighttime routine, allowing open lines of communication and just checking

in and saying you can always ask the questions, you
can always talk about things UM and then creating again
that space of utilizing maybe some skills, whether it's some
deep breathing together or just connecting and talking about other
other things that are happening the day that might be
joyous UM or comforting too, and and on that. No,

let me just follow up with you know, the world
is watching a horrific situation take place in Ukraine right now,
and it's it's really hard to get away from, especially
you know, it's online, it's on TV. And what would
your advice be for parents if younger kids or even
you know, teenagers they come to them with questions about

what's going on? How, what are some effective strategies and
tips the parents should keep in mind when approaching those
kinds of subjects. Yeah, absolutely, I think that um. Certainly
the situation with Ukraine and Russia is being discussed UM,
even even for younger kids. If we don't even think

that they know what's happening. In fact, I think oftentimes
they're hearing about this cool on the playground from other folks.
So I think one of the pieces of advice I
would give is not to shy away from asking what
your child knows, and asking if they haven't any questions. Uh.
Sometimes the more we try not to talk about something,

the more anxiety provoking it can be, and it can
almost seem like taboo or they can't talk about it.
So I think first and foremost, just being there for
for your child and being open to questions and touching
base is great. With younger children, I would say that
all you know, we want to just acknowledge that there

is something happening and answering questions about it. We also
don't want to give too much detail or too much information.
I think those details can be scary and it can
be a lot for younger children. So I think keeping
it very simple and simple language and then really following
their lead. What does that mean to you? How do
you feel about it? What questions do you have? UM

really can help guide that conversation. And when it comes
to older children like teens, they might have more views,
they might have more questions, and it can open to
other discussions UM and certainly I think being open to
that can be really helpful. I would say for everybody,
limiting how much news, how much we're absorbing about what

is happening is going to be really important. So certainly
getting an update, knowing what news sources you're looking into
for that type of information, but having the news on
all the time in the background, checking in all the time.
I in fact actually turn off my notifications doing things
like this because it actually can increase your anxiety. And

it's almost as if you're carrying a backpack fall of
books all the time and we just can't sustain that.
So really giving some space to it is also going
to be really important during this time. On the topic
of screen time and technology, this is a new variable
that you know, my parents didn't have to deal with
when I was growing up. Parents now it's it's a

big part of their kids life screen time, whether it's
being online, being on social media. What are some recommendations
that you offer up at the Child Mine Institute for
how parents should deal with issues like how much screen
time they allow their kids to have each day. Yeah,
I think in general, you know, the biggest piece of

advice I would give to parents around screen time and
their children is, um, being able to have those conversations
again with your child and being able to set some limits.
I always say that, um, you know, even even if
there's pushback around that that having some limit to screen
time is really important, especially for younger kids. UM. I

would also say just being privy to what social media
apps children are on, or your teams are are on,
what kind of new sources they're they're looking into. I
think asking those questions and being involved is important. Um.
And you know, for I guess for younger kids, I
would say that definitely monitoring and having to monitoring pieces

to that is going to be important. And for teens,
I know that there is issues around trust and teens
wanting their parents to to trust them, which is important.
And I would also say as a parent, you have
every right to check on what they're what they're looking into.
I think for things like the news, it can be
actually a really good learning opportunity in a great discussion

to have with your teen or with your young child
around what type of news sources are credible and what
what might social media be promoting to so that way
you can tease out which things might actually be giving
you some factual information. And final question for you, if
parents do notice some significant behavioral changes in their children,

what are the steps that they should take? Yeah, I
would say if you're noticing differences in your mood and behavior.
Definitely reach out to a pediatrician. You can reach out
to it's therapist. Really, uh, reach out for help. You know,
when you wait too long, it can actually increase symptomatology

and increase more symptoms. And there's nothing wrong with actually
just reaching out for help, especially during this time. And
there's excellent resources on child mind dot org. But again,
reach out for help, and again the website is child
mind dot org. Dr Jannine Domingez, clinical psychologist at the
Child Mind Institute. Dr Dominguez, thank you so much for

the time and insight. We really appreciate it. Thank you
so much for having me h and that's going to
do it for this edition of I Heardio Communities. I'm
your host, Ryan Gorman. Want to thank all of our
guests for joining us and thank all of you for listening.
We'll be back, same time, same place, next weekend. Stay saved.
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