Special Family Episode: Andy Talks to Kids and Parents About COVID-19

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In this episode of In the Bubble, Andy takes questions from some very special listeners: Kids! Andy chats with four different families about COVID-19, how to stay safe, and what comes next. Comedian Jim Gaffigan and his family, Tamera Mowry-Housley and Adam Housley and their kids, and stars of the YouTube channels Ryan’s World and What’s Up Moms all joined in for this fun and extra family-friendly episode.

Show notes:


[00:42] Andy Slavitt: Welcome to this special episode of In the Bubble. I’m Andy Slavitt, with Zach Slavitt, my son. Lots of kids out there have tough questions about what’s going on in the world right now. I recently got a chance to talk to some amazing kids about Covid-19. I talked to comedian Jim Gaffigan and his kids, the Housleys and their two young kids, the stars of YouTube channels, Ryan’s World and What’s Up, Moms? These kids and their parents, ranging in ages from about four to 15, had really smart questions. And I had a lot of fun answering them. So we are going to play them here for you now. And I think it’s a great thing for you and your kids to listen to. I know that some of the audio is a little bit funky owing to the fact that we were talking on the Internet. But I still think you’ll really enjoy the conversation.


[01:30] Andy Slavitt: Let’s go straight to 8 year old Ryan and his mom and dad, Loann and Shion Kaji, from the YouTube channel, Ryan’s World. 


[01:39] Ryan: Thank you so much, Andy, for taking time out to tell me and other kids like me what Coronavirus is and how we can prevent it from going even further. 


[01:56] Shion: We got a lot of questions for you. 


[02:01] Ryan: So first, to start off, can you help me with what we should call it? Should it be called Coronavirus, Covid-19? Or SARS-COV-2?


[02:14] Andy Slavitt: That’s a great question. That’s such a smart question. I like calling it the shortest thing possible. So I like calling it Covid-19. But let me explain the difference. Coronavirus is like — there is a whole bunch of different coronaviruses. Covid-19 is just one type of coronavirus. So both of them are accurate. But saying Covid-19 is more precise.

[02:43] Ryan: What are some tips that we can do to protect ourselves from getting the Coronavirus?


[02:49] Andy Slavitt: These are such great questions. So let’s start with this: wash your hands a lot, a lot. Because that way you will never — if you are somewhere, you touch a surface, maybe the virus lives somewhere. If you wash your hands, that’s a really good thing. Number two, if you have to cough or sneeze, should you cough into the air? Should you cough at your dad or your mom? No way. Third thing, and this is the hardest thing for me. So hard for me. Don’t touch your face. So I am the kind of person that likes to touch my face. Very hard not to do that. But the way that the virus spreads is if it gets into your mouth, it gets into your nose or it can get into your eyes. And so if you do all three of those things, and then a fourth thing, which you’ve heard about this sort of six-foot rule. You try to stay a pretty good distance away from other people in case they sneeze or they cough. If you do those things, those are really some of the best things you can do. 


[04:19] Ryan: That actually reminds me of another question. If somebody sneezes or coughs and they have the Coronavirus, how far can it spread?

[04:27] Andy Slavitt: That’s such a cool question. So I heard about this thing where they injected some material that was like a black neon light, and they saw someone sneeze — because these particles are so tiny that they even happen when we talk. They come out of our mouth when we talk. I know that sounds really gross. It happens when we talk and when we sneeze or cough. Usually it’s five or six feet. But sometimes when someone has a really big sneeze, either your parents have a really big sneeze sometimes?

[05:05] Loann: Me.

[05:08] Andy Slavitt: So if someone had a really big sneeze, they’ve seen that it could go as far as 10, 12, 14 feet, if your mom is really good at it. But sometimes you have to really try to get it out that far. And there may be only a couple of particles out that far. So you don’t have to stay 14 feet away from people, especially because you got to hug your mom a lot. That’s important.

[05:35] Ryan: Wow. Well, why is washing your hands so important? How much does it help us from getting the Coronavirus?

[05:47] Andy Slavitt: It helps a lot because another sneaky thing about the Coronavirus or Covid-19 is it can stay on the surface, particularly a hard surface — like if you’ve got a hard floor or I see your refrigerator back there or your counter, if someone has Covid-19 and they touched the surface, it can stay on there for a little while. And so if you came by and you touched it with your hands. Remember, they may not know they had Coronavirus. And then you said, you know what? I know I’m supposed to wash my hands, but I’m not going to do that. And you said, you know what? I know I’m not supposed to touch my face, but I don’t rub my hands all over my face. That would be, first of all, that is super silly, right? But because you forget, because you don’t necessarily always remember, every once in a while you just go watch your hand for 20 seconds. You sing a song that you like and you use soap. And there you go.

[06:56] Andy Slavitt: I’m excited to share some questions from Elle Walker and 8 year old Presley from What’s Up, Moms? Let’s hear from them now.

[07:04] Presley: Sometimes I use my inhaler for reactive airways. Does that mean that Covid-19 would be worse for me?

[07:13] Andy Slavitt: So first of all, it’s very, very safe for kids. You know, if you use an inhaler, I think it’s good to be a little bit more careful. Just a little bit safer. But kids your age, I mean, if you look at all the data, anyone under 20, 90 percent of them don’t even know they have it.

[07:34] Elle: The flu isn’t like that. How is this virus like that?

[07:38] Andy Slavitt: It’s really sneaky. It’s a really sneaky virus. I mean, the first five days that you have it, you don’t know you have it, when you’re highly contagious, when you’re asymptomatic. There’s a lot of carriers. And it looks around and it preys on the people that are sicker and older. And so that’s where all of us have a responsibility to our grandparents and other people who are sick to make sure we’re not doing things by mistake, we would never do it on purpose, but by mistake that don’t get them sick.

[08:09] Presley: What happens if you’re having a baby? Is it safe to go to the hospital?

[08:14] Andy Slavitt: Do you know somebody’s having a baby soon? No, I don’t.

[08:20] Elle: Just very curious about this.

[08:22] Andy Slavitt: It’s a great question. It’s a great question. If you’re going to have a baby soon, you can still go to the hospital to have a baby. What they do is they tend to separate people who have infectious diseases and conditions like Covid-19 from people who were coming in because they come in for another reason, like to have a baby. And hospitals don’t want moms and babies to get Covid-19.

[08:45] Elle: I think my last question, is there a chance the kids will not go back to school in the fall?

[08:50] Andy Slavitt: Yeah, I think there’s always a chance. I mean, I’ve got a senior in high school who would be getting ready to start college next year. And, you know, there are colleges that are already indicating they may not start till January. I would bet, though, that for you, I would bet the kids your age, you probably will be more likely to go back to school. They’ll find a safer way to do that. But, you know, you’re going to just have to be a little bit careful. But, you know, they’ll decide in the city that you live in.

[09:26] Presley: Could this be the worst virus in the entire world?

[09:30] Andy Slavitt: The answer is no. It won’t be the worst virus in the whole entire world. Because we have a lot of kids who grew up to become scientists. And they’re working on this all the time. The best scientists in the world are. So I know right now, before they have a vaccine, it feels kind of scary, because it feels like we don’t know what’s going to happen because we’re right in the middle. It’s like if you’re at a soccer game and you end up winning five to one, but you were losing one to nothing at one point, and you’re like, oh, maybe we’re going to lose, but then you score five goals. We know it’s going to work out. There will be sad parts. I’m not going to pretend there won’t be sad parts. There will be people who are sick and people who die. But I don’t think you should think about, you know, this as something we won’t be able to fix or to control. 


[11:25] Andy Slavitt: In the Bubble has a team of producers and editors and composers that bring you the show every week. Please help support the creation of the show by going to LemonadaMedia.com/IntheBubble. By signing up to pitch in wherever you can, you’ll also get exclusive show content. And any profits that come to Zach or I will be donated directly to Covid relief.

[11:56] Andy Slavitt: And now Jim Gaffigan and his family, Katie, Mikey, Jack, Marre and Patrick. All have great questions, which are all up on Jim’s YouTube channel. Here’s a taste of my conversation with them.

[12:12] Jim Gaffigan: I’m all right here, Andy. I appreciate you being here with us. We are, as you know, I’m trapped in quarantine with my five young children. And there used to be seven of them, but there’s five left. I’m trapped here with my five children and obviously I’ve tried to be a good support system for my children. And this is a very confusing time we’re in. And so I was hoping, since you’re so smart and you had such important jobs that had to do with similar things to this, maybe my five children could ask you some questions.

[12:53] Andy Slavitt: That would be great.

[12:55] Jim Gaffigan: My first one here is Katie. I call her Coocoo. But Katie, what’s your first question for Andy?

[13:03] Katie: My first question is, are we close to finding a vaccine?

[13:13] Andy Slavitt: So that’s a great question. And I’ll tell you a couple of things. First of all, we have so many scientists working on this right now, I can’t even count them. They’re the best scientists from all over the world and they’re racing for a vaccine. Now, vaccines are interesting because what’s the point about them? It’s not just that they work, but that they’re safe. So they can actually come up with a vaccine pretty quickly. But they want to give them to a few people and see if that helps them. And if they get sick, sometimes you give someone a vaccine and they get a little bit sicker. So they want to usually wait about a year so that you can make sure if you’re going to get a vaccine to a whole lot of people that those people don’t end up getting sick. And then it’ll take some time for the big manufacturers to start making them. So there’s a whole bunch of factories that will start making them real fast. So I would bet that it will be sometime in 2021, sometime next year. Maybe right around this time, maybe a little bit later where there will be vaccines available. That’s my bet.

[14:30] Jim Gaffigan: Next up is Marre. There’s a lot of ‘em, Andy. There’s a lot of children.

[14:36] Marre: So my question is that we have two dogs and right now that are staying with my my aunt and uncle, who live close to us. But I was just wondering if can my dog get the coronavirus or do animals get them?

[14:54] Andy Slavitt: Really interesting. Here’s what we think we know. They actually can get it, but they can’t really get sick from it, and they can’t pass back to humans. So it’s almost like they don’t really have it. They’re bad hosts. Your dogs are bad hosts, I’m sorry to report. And so that means you don’t really have to worry about that. We have a dog here, Brody, he’s a big giant puppy. We’re not worried about it.

[15:22] Marre: And for the people that do get out, or go outside, is staying six feet apart really necessary? Do you think it’s not necessary?

[15:32] Andy Slavitt: It depends on who, really. I mean, your parents probably want to stay further away from them, right? I’s a great question. You’ve clearly done some research because it is true that particles can travel further than six feet away. Sometimes it’s hard to avoid being within six feet of somebody, in which case that’s why people say maybe you wear a mask or something. But if you do end up going near somebody, then you’ve got to, you know, take precautions, wash your hands, don’t touch your face.

[16:24] Marre: I have one last quick question. If someone with the virus were to, like, cough or sneeze out of a window, down from whatever height of a building, would that be like a huge problem?

[16:40] Jim Gaffigan: There’s was was a debate in our family because my wife is high-risk. She had a brain surgery where her lungs were compromised, so some of it was about even opening windows. And we live very close to street level. So if someone sneezes and they have it and it floats up, we’ve seen the images of it being shared within a grocery store. Why wouldn’t it go up half a story, to our window? We live on the second floor.

[17:17] Andy Slavitt: I think I would take every precaution with your mom. I mean, the chances of it really having someone sneezing and it rising up and going into your apartment window just seems very hard to imagine. But, you know, I mean, I wouldn’t stick your head out the window and might try to tempt fate or anything.

[17:38] Andy Slavitta: The Housleys had some amazing questions that they included on their channel, The Housley Life. Let’s hear from actress Tamara Mowry-Housley, journalist Adam Housley and their two really crazy, adorable kids, 7 year old Aiden and 4 year old Ariah.

[17:56] Tamara: Ready? It’s going to be you guys.

[18:00] Adam: Say hi.

[18:12] Tamara: So I heard you guys have questions for Andy in regards to the Coronavirus.

[18:22] Aiden: Why is it called the Coronavirus? 

[18:26] Andy Slavitt: OK, so it’s a great question. A corona means crown. Thinking about a crown, what does it look like? It’s got kind of a bunch of points on the top. Well, if you took a big microscope and you put the Coronavirus under the microscope, it would look exactly like that. It has a whole bunch of crowns. So they just called it the Coronavirus because it looks like it has a crown on it.

[18:57] Ariah: Why do you wash your hands so much?

[19:01] Andy Slavitt: Oh, let me see those hands. Let me see those hands. Oh, they look clean. So if you wash your hands a lot, that makes it much harder for the virus to spread because the thing inside soap, if you wash your hands, and you should do it for about 20 seconds. So sing a little bit of a song, then voilà, if you touch something and you wash your hands, then you don’t have to worry about getting or spreading the virus as much. So it’s good to wash your hands a lot. Other thing it’s good to do, do you guys ever cough or sneeze?

[20:00] Aiden: Sometimes I sneeze.

[20:12] Andy Slavitt: So the best way to sneeze, the best place to sneeze is into your elbow. That’s also good for a cough. Well, you’re so smart. Exactly.

[20:44] Aiden: Why can’t I play with my friends?

[20:49] Andy Slavitt: I know you want to play with your friends. And I know they want to play with you. The problem is that when something like a virus is going around and it spreads, it doesn’t necessarily make kids sick. In fact, kids usually don’t get sick from Coronavirus. But sometimes what happens is one kid will play with another kid, and then maybe that kid goes to see his grandmother or his grandfather, and then they could pass the virus on to their grandmother, grandfather, and they could get sick. And so we want to make sure that doesn’t happen. And so the grown-ups are going to try to make sure we’re as being as safe as possible and that when the virus is not so easy to catch, then you’ll be able to go outside and play with your friends again.

[21:41] Aiden: Why are people wearing masks?

[21:45] Andy Slavitt: So people wear masks because they don’t want to spread coronavirus to other people. So you put on a mask, then they basically, if they go to a store or they’re walking around in the street and they’re near people, they basically are helping protect other people from getting Coronavirus. So I know it looks a little bit funny because we’re not used to seeing it, but it’s actually helping to keep people safer and healthier.

[22:16] Ariah: What do we eat to be safer from Coronavirus?

[22:17] Andy Slavitt: What’s your favorite food?

[22:22] Ariah: Apples and grapes.

[22:27] Andy Slavitt: I think that’s pretty good. You’re going to be good. Your parents will make sure you eat healthy food and food you like. And I think that will be just fine. I don’t think there’s any special foods you have to worry about eating for Coronavirus. It’s so much fun talking to you guys.

[23:33] Tamara: Thank you, Andy.

[23:42] Andy Slavitt: Thank you to all these families for the very thoughtful questions. They’re all so smart and I’m glad we had a chance to talk like this. We’ll do it again. Hope everyone out there is feeling a little bit better informed, a little bit less scared. We have another episode, a mini-episode of In the Bubble coming out on Monday, which I think you’re going to love, and a full episode on Wednesday. So stay tuned and thanks for listening. 


[24:08] Andy Slavitt: In the Bubble is a production of Lemonada Media. Niccole Galteland is our producer and Ivan Kuraev is our editor. Music is by Dan Molad and Oliver Hill. Zach Slavtii is our co-producer and my co-host. You can find out more about our show on social media @LemonadaMedia. And you can find me on social media at @ASlavitt on Twitter, @AndySlavitt on Instagram. If you liked what you heard today, tell your family and friends, but tell them at a distance. For now, stay safe. Share some joy. We’ll get through this together. And #StayHome.


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