Coronavirus Social: Babies Shouldn't Wear Masks, Experts Warn

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MAY 01, 2020 -- Here's what's happening on social media so far this week that's related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Baby Masks Are Dangerous

Twitter sounded the alarm on masks for very young children over the weekend. In response to an Amazon ad for Jonigo breathable gauze masks for children 0–3 years old, pediatric physician assistant Alyson Smith tweeted,

"Hey @Amazon this product could be deadly to babies and must be removed immediately."

Smith and other users stress that both the Centers for Disease and Prevention Control (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics strongly recommend against masks for small children, especially babies, because of the high risk for suffocation. She complained to the Amazon help center, and it appears the masks, along with similar products, have been removed from the site. However, baby masks are still readily available on numerous other websites.

Protective face masks for kids may be a tempting purchase for parents, especially since there has been an increase in reports of severe gastrointestinal distress and cardiac inflammation in pediatric coronavirus patients. The characteristic COVID-19 symptoms of cough, fever, and shortness of breath are less common in children than adults, according to the CDC.

COVID Could Be a Setback for Women in Medicine

Early data suggest that women are losing out when it comes to journal submissions related to the new coronavirus.

Social distancing shrinks the amount of time women can devote to research, Elizabeth Hannon, PhD, the deputy editor of the British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, explained on Twitter. She noted that she had received "negligible" submissions from women within the past month and that she had "never seen anything like it."

"This is a precursor to a disastrous backslide for academic women in era of #COVID19...." responded Vineet Arora, MD, the chief medical officer at University Chicago Medicine. She cited the possibility of more layoffs of female staff, owing to pending budget cuts, and fewer promotions, grants, and tenured positions for women during the COVID-19 pandemic. These developments could reverse the gains women have made in medicine over the past 20 years, she added.


In a six-tweet thread, Arora pointed out that there is an assumption that women can't contribute as much while stay-at-home orders are in place, owing to increased family demands. But leaders can respond by intentionally being more inclusive, she said, and by thinking through new academic models to help women thrive.

Snapchat Adds Features to Fight COVID-19

Snapchat has added a dedicated feed to the top of the app's Discover tab. The feature highlights the latest updates from key news sources, such as the World Health Organization, the UK's National Health Service, and official messages from the US COVID-19 task force.

Additionally, Snapchat has added a COVID-19 information center, Coronavirus: Slow the Spread, with content vetted by the Snapchat team. It has also created an augmented reality game to help dispel common coronavirus myths, as well as new filters that encourage social distancing.

Snapchat's efforts could be an effective way to reach a younger audience and help underscore important coronavirus prevention strategies. Over 90% of the platform's users are under the age of 24, and nearly 70% are female, according to Omnicore, a digital marketing agency that tracks social media demographics.

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