• 37°

Chris Magryta: On screen time, herd immunity, returning to schools full time

Editor’s note: The following are a few recent excerpts from blog posts by Dr. Chris Magryta, who works at Salisbury Pediatric Associates. Read more at salisburypediatrics.com

By Dr. Chris Magryta

Continuing with the screen time theme, let’s look at a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Dr. Linda Charmaraman and colleagues looked into the effects of screen time use and sleep.

The results were expected and straightforward. They noted: “Quantity of social technology use (e.g., checking social media, problematic internet behaviors, mobile use), content viewed (e.g., emotional or violent videos, risky behaviors) and social context (e.g., bedtime behaviors, starting social media at an early age) were significantly related to later bedtimes and fewer hours of sleep on school nights. Parental rules restricting mobile phone and online use before bed and obtaining a smartphone at a later age were associated with increased sleep time and earlier bedtime.”

I have discussed many times over the years how sleep is necessary for memory consolidation, brain cleansing, inflammation reduction, mood and stress control and so much more. I have found that over the previous few years sleep duration is going down for teenage patients. The cause is primarily screen usage and a lack of parental involvement.

These are important and non-negotiable variables for teens if we are to help them grow and prosper mentally and physically.

Be involved in your teens choices regarding screens and time.

•••

It is becoming ever more clear that we are not seeing re-spikes in areas previously hammered by this virus. This is a bit of good news in the otherwise dismal case volume.

Herd immunity threshold — different then herd immunity — is a theory that has some solid evidence. It is basically the theory that we will see no further wildfire-type spread if enough people have been infected coupled with effective masking, social distancing and protecting the vulnerable. This is pretty much the Swedish experiment without the mask mandate.

This is not to say that we will be virus-free. The herd immunity threshold is not the same as herd immunity, which we use to discuss the volume of individuals infected or vaccinated to stop the spread of the infection and allow life to return to normal. Roughly 70 or more percent of individuals need to be immune for this to occur. However, this is pathogen specific and we are no where near it for COVID-19. On the other hand, if 30% of individuals are immune and the remainder of the population follows basic pandemic precautions, including social distancing, mask wearing, crowd avoidance, isolation of the vulnerable and self care, then the virus will go into case decline and resolution can begin to occur once a vaccine is initiated.

It appears likely that this is exactly what we are seeing nationally: No significant spikes in previously pounded cities coupled with new spikes in previously unaffected areas.

•••

The preponderance of the current data after eight months of COVID research points squarely to the reality that schools are not the source transmission problem, especially the less-than-12-year-old age range. There is now evidence that teachers may be at less risk because of potential prior cross-reactive immunity. This can be gained from frequent exposure to young children who carry or are sick with other coronaviruses. They are also at less risk when wearing a mask and remaining 6 feet from children. There is good evidence for safely returning to full-time school.

There are two caveats to this reality. First, if a teacher has a genetic weakness or other innate immune viral surveillance defect, they could have a negative outcome despite the low risk. These are lightning strikes in their rare probability. However, they can happen. Second, those individuals who have consciously neglected to care for themselves for years through poor lifestyle choices driving diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and obesity morbidity will be at greater risk for a negative outcome regardless of the aforementioned risk reduction of children exposure.

Thus, we should be pushing for schools to get back to full activity, in-person learning. Our children are suffering from mental and physical stagnation that may last for a generation. This is especially egregious for the most impoverished children in the country. Those individuals in the teaching profession at higher risk, as stated above, will need to make a choice.

This is frankly a class effect for all workers in every field.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

News

Catawba College researchers say invasive beetle will kill significant portion of ecological preserve’s ash trees

Elections

Dr. Fauci, Kanye West, Jesus Christ among presidential write-in candidates in Rowan County

Crime

Salisbury Police receive grant for social justice, racial equity training

Local

When weather turns cold, where do Rowan County wildlife go?

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged faces marijuana charge after being served with unrelated warrant

Coronavirus

Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving

Elections

State Board of Elections certifies results of 2020 election

Business

Small business owners seek lifeline in new grant program offered by Rowan County

Crime

Blotter: Sheriff’s Office investigating arson at storage unit housing Royce Apparel Inc. merchandise

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for white pickup caught vandalizing schools, church

News

Salisbury city manager tests positive for COVID-19

Food

Home sweet home: Families never tire of decorating Rowan Museum gingerbread houses

Crime

Former Salisbury High teacher faces additional sex offense charges

Education

RSS planning drive-thru send-off for superintendent

Local

Highway Patrol: Fatal I-85 crash occurred when one vehicle stopped in roadway

Coronavirus

10 more counties found with ‘critical’ spread as Gov. Cooper tightens mask-wearing restrictions

Crime

Police: Several weekend overdoses possibly result of ‘bad batch’ of drugs

Crime

Davie County Social Services employee faces assault, child abuse charges

Elections

Political Notebook: State survey shows majority of voters confident in election process

Local

Logistics, instructions for ‘Tis the Season Spectacular parade

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can people stop unwanted telemarketers, robocalls?

Local

One reported dead after fiery interstate crash

Local

Salisbury’s $35 million in water, wastewater upgrades on track for completion in 2022

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with stealing $600 in pallets, 10 boxes of clothing