6 Ways 2020 Will Change Our Children, According to Psychologists & Pediatricians

Hey Mama, how ya doing? Hanging on by a thread? Same, same.

But amidst all the worrying about schools and pods and daily case counts, many parents are also up at night with a far more existential question: How will this absolutely bonkers year affect our children, long-term?

We checked in with the experts—two pediatricians and a pediatric psychologist—to learn what they’re seeing, what they’re fearing and how they think the current world will shape our kids’ lives. (Spoiler: It’s not all bad.) 

1. Kids will be more technologically savvy and computer literate

Does your 4-year-old now know how to un-mute himself? Is your budding Mia Hamm completely comfortable with Zoom soccer lessons? While we parents may look on in horror, the fact is that this pandemic will inevitably make our children more computer literate, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Says pediatric phycologist Dr. Ann-Louise Lockhart, “Due to

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Indigenous Mexicans turn inward to survive COVID-19, barricading villages and growing their own food

<span class="caption">Zapotec farmers return from their 'milpa,' the garden plots that provide much of the communities' food, in Oaxaca, Mexico. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Jeffrey H. Cohen</span>, <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:CC BY-SA">CC BY-SA</a></span>
Zapotec farmers return from their ‘milpa,’ the garden plots that provide much of the communities’ food, in Oaxaca, Mexico. Jeffrey H. Cohen, CC BY-SA

While the coronavirus hammers Mexico, some Indigenous communities in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca are finding creative ways to cope.

Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s poorest and most ethnically diverse states, is home to numerous Indigenous communities, including the Zapotec people. I have spent many years in the central valleys of Oaxaca conducting anthropological research in rural Zapotec villages, documenting the people’s lives, migration patterns and food culture.

Map of Mexico showing Oaxaca
Map of Mexico showing Oaxaca

Now, my summer research in Oaxaca canceled due to the pandemic, I am learning from afar how the Zapotec are confronting the coronavirus given such complicating factors as chronic poverty, inadequate health care, limited internet, language barriers and a lack of running water.

Working with colleagues at Mexico’s Universidad Tecnológica de los

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Teacher Stuck Between Rogue Guv and Biker Shitshow

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/Handout
Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty/Handout


Ms. Hansen.


Masks Save Lives.

The words appeared on a tombstone-shaped sign 23-year-old rookie special education teacher Lizzie Hansen carried at a demonstration last month, urging her South Dakota school board to mandate masks when the school year begins.

The board did go from terming masks “recommended” to deeming them “expected.” But it stopped short of what all the authoritative science says it should do.

“It’s not a requirement,” Hansen noted in an interview.

To make it worse, Hansen recently began spotting bikers rumbling through her part of eastern South Dakota on their way to the once legendary, and now notorious, annual motorcycle rally in Sturgis. A quarter-million people or more are currently in the middle of nine days of partying, often completely without masks or social distancing, as if there were no pandemic. 

She calculated the threat as if it were

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Virtual community, entertainment events

While everyone is staying close to home, here is a list of reader-submitted opportunities to learn, take classes, contribute, stroll through galleries, or have front-row seats to hear and see some great musicians — from the convenience and comfort of your own home. All programs are subject to change.

‘Symphonic Dances’ at The Kravis Center @ Home: Available for viewing until Aug. 10 — on Facebook or YouTube. It’s still intermission IRL – but the show goes on at the digital stage that features a lineup of curated concerts, talks, performances and arts education events to entertain and inspire. Next up, join the Aug. 19 watch party at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live with Eduardo Vilaro and Batucada Fantástica or catch the moves of Ballet Hispanico today at #BUnidos. Enjoy all this and more at

Current Events at ILIR on Zoom: 10-11:15 a.m. Aug. 10. Institute For Learning In

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Failing test and trace system to be scaled back

Boris Johnson takes aim on a visit to a school in Upminster, Essex - Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA
Boris Johnson takes aim on a visit to a school in Upminster, Essex – Lucy Young/Evening Standard/PA

Troubled test and trace system to be scaled back

The failing test and trace system will be scaled back nationally under new plans to put more “boots on the ground” to stop the spread of coronavirus. Council workers will be told to knock on the doors of people who fail to respond to calls warning them that they have been in contact with positive virus cases. The major overhaul follows warnings that the safe reopening of schools depends on improvements in efforts to test and track the virus. Health Editor Laura Donnelly has the details, which come amid mounting fears of a fresh Covid-19 surge. The UK has recorded its largest rise in new cases since the end of June, with a total of 1,062 people testing positive for Covid-19 in a single

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How to use ventilation and air filtration to prevent the spread of coronavirus indoors

<span class="caption">Open windows are the simplest way to increase air flow in a room.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Justin Paget / Digital Vision via Getty Images"> Justin Paget / Digital Vision via Getty Images</a></span>
Open windows are the simplest way to increase air flow in a room. Justin Paget / Digital Vision via Getty Images

The vast majority of SARS-CoV-2 transmission occurs indoors, most of it from the inhalation of airborne particles that contain the coronavirus. The best way to prevent the virus from spreading in a home or business would be to simply keep infected people away. But this is hard to do when an estimated 40% of cases are asymptomatic and asymptomatic people can still spread the coronavirus to others.

Masks do a decent job at keeping the virus from spreading into the environment, but if an infected person is inside a building, inevitably some virus will escape into the air.

I am a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder. Much of my work has focused on how to control the transmission of airborne infectious diseases indoors, and

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How Trump and Biden are trying to run virtual campaigns during coronavirus

President Donald Trump’s campaign has ridiculed rival Democrat Joe Biden for remaining cloistered during the pandemic, forced to give speeches, meet activists and raise money almost entirely from the seclusion of his basement in Wilmington, Delaware.

But as precautions and concerns about COVID-19 have grown, Trump has also halted his signature rallies at least temporarily and started his own virtual gatherings to keep in touch with voters.

“They’re making things up on the fly and seeing what works,” said Bob Oldendick, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina. “You use everything that’s available to you.”

Spikes in COVID-19 cases and social distance measures used to slow the spreading virus have forced the Trump and Biden teams to adjust their campaigns in ways never seen in history. Rallies, handshakes and traditional grassroots organizing are out. They’ve been replaced with a barrage of email, texts, candidate videos, Zoom meetings

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The wrong way to reopen schools

Teachers union members, activists and allies march to the L.A. Unified School District headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 3 to demand a "safe, scientific, racially just and fully funded approach to reopening schools." <span class="copyright">(Los Angeles Times)</span>
Teachers union members, activists and allies march to the L.A. Unified School District headquarters in downtown Los Angeles on Aug. 3 to demand a “safe, scientific, racially just and fully funded approach to reopening schools.” (Los Angeles Times)

Despite all the fears about reopening schools, we actually know a fair amount from watching other countries about how to do it safely. Success looks a lot like Uruguay and Denmark. It does not look like Israel.

And it bears no resemblance at all to what’s shown in a photo from North Paulding High School in Dallas, Ga., in which teenagers are packed into a hallway, few of them wearing masks. Even before classes there began, members of the school’s football team had already been diagnosed with COVID-19. On Sunday, the school announced that nine infections had been reported in the first week of classes, and it was temporarily moving to online-only

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Is In-Person Voting Really Unsafe?


The fear in Wisconsin was clear. 

The coronavirus pandemic was still relatively new in early April as the Wisconsin governor’s late attempt to delay the fast-approaching primary election was thwarted by a GOP court challenge. And even with a crucial state supreme court seat on the line, along with the presidential primary, some Democrats worried that asking people to head to the polls on election day could be a major health risk.  

Four months later, as other states have also taken a similar blended election approach with an emphasis on mail-in voting along with in-person options, those concerns may have not been as far-reaching as some had first feared. But as the country hurtles towards holding a contentious presidential election during the pandemic, both health and voting rights experts remain alarmed as political battles rage over elections during the pandemic. 

“We were lucky in April here, I

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Sobbing over the back-to-school display in the grocery store? It’s the coronavirus blues

School supplies. <span class="copyright">(Laurence Mouton / Getty Images)</span>
School supplies. (Laurence Mouton / Getty Images)

In the grocery store the other day, I passed through the “back to school” aisle and promptly burst into tears.

Not the salty-sweet tears that fill your eyes and hang on your lashes before sending a perfect drop or two down your cheek to remind you that you are still alive in an emotional way. Nope, these were throat-spasming sobs, complete with instant mucus production and primative guttural sounds.

It was … excessive. Especially considering how much I, into the ninth year of my third child’s education, hate back-to-school supply shopping. The possibility of not being forced by tradition into increasing our family’s already prodigious collection of erasers, colored pencils and backpacks is one of the few benefits (besides, you know, avoiding a deadly virus) of the online schooling my 8th-grader faces.

Even so, the sight of spiral notebooks and glue sticks sent

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