Joe Biden knew exactly what to say to a young girl scared about getting sick from COVID

Joe Biden's CNN townhall on Tuesday night was notable for a number of reasons: He gave Americans an honest assessment of when we can expect to have enough vaccinations to win the war on COVID, he said it's time to stop obsessing over Trump and he was thoughtful about the exactly what he can and can't do about student loans.

But the most important exchange happened when Biden took a question from a mother, who shared that her 8-year-old daughter, who was standing at her side, was fearful that she or her parents might get sick and die from the virus.

"My children, Layla 8, here, and my son Mateo, 7, at home, often ask if will they catch Covid, and if they do, will they die?" graphic designer Jessica Salas said to Biden during the townhall.

Watch the full video here

Rather than focusing on Salas, President Biden turned to address Layla directly. It was a powerful moment in which Biden simultaneously sought to reassure her while also speaking to her with a dignity and maturity so often reserved for adults.

"First of all, kids of all don't get Covid very often, it's unusual for that to happen," Biden said. "The evidence is children aren't the people most likely to get Covid. We haven't even done tests yet on whether certain vaccines would work or not work. So, you're the safest group of people in the whole world."

That alone was a great response. For better or worse, we now look to our presidents as our emotional core as a nation, our collective drivers of empathy. Regardless of your personal politics, the last four years were so devoid of that personal touch that it has been really refreshing to see a president who not only talks like he gets it, but seems to genuinely feel it at his core.

"Number two, you're not likely to be exposed to something and spread it to mommy or daddy," Biden continued. "And it's not likely mommy or daddy are able to spread it to you, either. So, I wouldn't worry about it baby, I promise you."

Biden went on to connect the disconnected feelings we are all experiencing during lockdown as something that affects kids just as much as adults, maybe even more.

"You don't get to go to school, you don't get to see your friends … When things change people get really worried and scared. But don't be scared, honey. Don't be scared. You're gonna be fine. And we're gonna make sure mommy is fine, too."

Empathy is something we collectively took for granted when it came to our national leaders. We really didn't know how important it was until we lost it. Franklin Roosevelt told Americans they had nothing to fear but fear itself. Ronald Reagan promised a "morning in America" for millions struggling with inflation and job loss. Bill Clinton felt our pain. These were all political slogans but they also reflected an empathetic understanding of the challenges and hopes all Americans feel. In many ways, it's Politics 101. And it's great to have that kind of sensibility back in the White House.


Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!

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