Sunday, August 02, 2020
When state officials were deciding whether to shutter their schools back in March, the evidence they had to work with was thin. They knew kids easily catch and spread influenza -- and that school holidays and closures have helped slow its spread. But they weren't sure if the same was true for Covid-19.
The first study, published in JAMA, is peer-reviewed. As Haseltine notes, researchers examined findings from a pediatric hospital in Chicago, the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital.
JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association):
The Chicago study examines the concentration of the SARS-CoV-2 in the nasopharynx, or the upper region of the throat that connects to the nasal passages, of children and adults. According to the results, children 5 years and younger who develop mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms have 10 to 100 times as much SARS-CoV-2 in the nasopharynx as older children and adults.
Whenever these young children cough, sneeze, or shout, they expel virus-laden droplets from the nasopharynx into the air. If they have as much as one hundred times the amount of virus in their throat and nasal passages as adults, it only makes sense that they would spread the virus more efficiently. The study also shows that children from the ages of 5 to 17, also with mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms, have the same amount of virus in the nasopharynx as adults age 18 and above
The researchers found that although young children had a somewhat lower risk of infection than adults and were less likely to become ill, children age 14 and younger transmit the virus more efficiently to other children and adults than adults themselves. Their risk of transmitting Covid-19 was 22.4 percent"more than twice that of adults aged 30 to 49, whose rate of contagiousness was about 11 percent. "Although childhood contacts were less likely to become cases," they wrote, "children were more likely to infect household members."
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