Experts emphasize social distancing for kids after first U.S. teen dies of coronavirus

Doctors are trying to get the word out to parents

ATLANTA — The death of a teenager with coronavirus in California is a reminder that anyone of any age can get the deadly illness.

Channel 2 Anchor Carol Sbarge was in DeKalb County, where normally, on a beautiful day like this, kids would be playing on the playground.

But the park is closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which can live for awhile on surfaces.

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Experts are not just warning kids to avoid playgrounds, but play dates all together.

Sbarge talked to family doctor Dr. Barbara Joy Jones over FaceTime about why play dates aren't recommended. Jones said the fact that a 17-year-old boy died in the U.S. is a tragic reminder to parents.

"It just shows you that children are at risk too," Jones said. "Not necessarily (as at risk), but we don’t want to even take the chance."

Jones said if parents keep allowing their children to have play dates, the risk goes up exponentially.


"Let’s just say you have five kids that meet every day," Jones said. 'That is the culmination of all 5 households not just 5 children, so you might have someone exposed, brings it to their child, and then that child brings it back to their home."

Jones recommends the only people children interact with, at least for the time being, are family members.

On Wednesday, the Martin family was outside getting some fresh air on a quiet trail.

Only in first grade, Xavier Martin understands for now he can’t play with his friends.

“You have to keep social distancing, and you can’t really play with anyone else,” Martin said.