One of the many nice things about living in New Mexico is having the option, every Saturday morning, to turn on KUNM, one of Albuquerque’s two public radio stations, to hear The Children’s Hour, produced and hosted by our guest today Katie Stone. Luckily for listeners, The Children’s Hour is heard on more than one hundred radio stations, coast to coast, so chances are you know even better than I how good it is.
To me, the show’s great virtue is how it levels with its main audience — children. By giving over most of the content of The Children’s Hour to children, who report an question and comment from a child’s point of view — which is what children rarely get to hear on their radios, televisions or digital devices.
The Children’s Hour is about our world, the one we adults live in, which happens to be the same world children inhabit, which they see from their own perspective.
What they and we are seeing now in America is scary. The combination of the very contagious Delta variant and the reopening of schools has sent the reported numbers of children testing positive for COVID-19 on a record-setting surge.
Since the pandemic hit America in February 2020, over 5.5 million children have tested positive for COVID-19. But close to a million of them got COVID in four weeks between mid-August and mid-September.
Put another way, over the course of the pandemic children under 18 have accounted for about 16 percent of all COVID infections in America. But, in September, 26 percent of new infections were in children, who, by the way, are 22 percent of the American population.
Right now, children under 18 are more likely than adults to catch COVID-19.
The good news is that many cases of pediatric COVID present no symptoms, and in the overwhelming number of cases of reported illness, symptoms are mild and short-lived.
And the better news is that trials of Pfizer-BioNTec’s vaccine — given in a lower dose to children aged five to 11 show great success — and the word from Dr. Anthony Fauci is, that there is a “good chance” the vaccine might be approved and available by Halloween. Trials of Moderna and J+J vaccines for children are reported to be running just a month of two behind Pfizer.
So much news about COVID-19 of specific interest to children…
Katie Stone is the Executive Director of The Children’s Hour Inc. and was a volunteer producer of The Children’s Hour for more than 17 years at KUNM. She started the nonprofit for the program in 2018. She has decades in business administration, and lives and works on a solar-powered organic farm near the Rio Grande in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Katie started producing radio more than 30 years ago at WDGC fm in Downers Grove, IL.