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Florida youth starts podcast aimed at explaining COVID-19 to teens

Janet Begley
Special to TCPalm.com
Walton Sun

A 15-year-old who dreams of becoming a doctor is spending his summer recording podcasts to give teens a better understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Faizan Zaidi said the idea of starting the podcast "Infectious — Your Guide to Life During the Coronavirus" came to him when he realized how little information about COVID-19 was available for young people in an easily-accessible format.

“There’s not a lot of information out there for 14, 15 and 16-year-olds,” said Faizan, who goes by Faz. “I wanted to address COVID-19, but the information available is confusing for young people.”

His parents are physicians who help him make connections in the medical community. His mom, Dr. Saatia Jaffry, is a nephrologist with an office on Bay Street in Sebastian. His dad, Dr. Farhan Zaidi, is a physician at The Back Center in Melbourne.

Faz turned to medical experts across the country to record his 15 to 20-minute podcasts that can be accessed through Apple Podcasts.

He uses his laptop and a microphone to record the podcast and works from his home in  Satellite Beach in Brevard County.

The podcasts are interactive. Listeners can pose questions for experts. He began June 1 and has had seven podcasts so far. He's received a "5 out of 5" rating, labeled "very informative" by some of his listeners.

So far, Faz’s podcasts have had hundreds of plays and he’s confident the number of listeners will continue to grow.

He's talked with Dr. Ravi Masih an emergency physician at Sebastian River Medical Center about COVID-19 and its societal effects; Dr. Richard Schwarz, medical director of Long Island (New York) Jewish Medical Center about treating patients on the front lines; Dr. Ayesha Thomas-St. Cyr, an infectious disease specialist; and Dr.  Katherine Cobb, president of his school, Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy in Melbourne, who discussed the challenges facing schools in the re-opening process.

“As Florida has become the epicenter with a record number of cases and increasing deaths, I strongly feel we need to provide our local community, especially the youth, with information that can equip them to face the pandemic,” said Faz.

As of Aug. 5, the three-county Treasure Coast area had 11,470 positive novel coronavirus cases and 275 related resident deaths. Brevard County had 5,712 cases and 132 resident deaths. Florida had 502,739 positive cases.

On July 29, Martin County had the highest COVID-19 positivity rate of children under 18 in Florida, according to Florida Department of Health data.

Faz is also a regular teen, who is a sophomore at Holy Trinity Episcopal. He is a Boy Scout working to achieve Eagle rank. He is an avid debater in a club called Public Forum and has competed in tournaments across the country.

Although he hasn’t decided where he wants to go to college, Faz has been doing research on algae at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne and he hopes to have his research published soon. He also loves robotics and has been very involved in coaching a junior high school robotics club.

But with the need to disseminate medical information about COVID-19 still primary in his mind, Faz hopes to make a real contribution to the younger generation through his  podcast.

“During the pandemic, I’ve seen a lot of people doing good things for others,” said Faz. “I just want to contribute.”

How to listen

To listen to the podcast, follow this link :Start searching the title  (Infectious  Your Guide to Life During the Coronavirus) on your iphone podcast app or at https//apps.apple.com and it will pop up. It's free to subscribe.

This article originally appeared on Treasure Coast Newspapers: Satellite Beach youth with ties to Sebastian starts podcast aimed at explaining COVID-19 to teens.