A new study has looked into children’ rate of transmission for COVID-19. Results revealed that children younger than three years old are more likely to pass the virus to someone else, especially to persons in their family. The study was published in the JAMA Pediatrics journal at the beginning of the week. The study also concluded that children are not more likely to transmit COVID compared to adults.
The research looked at 6280 households from Canada that had Coronavirus cases for family members under 18. They then counted the number of family members that had contracted the virus from the child. The study looked at the period of time between June and December 2020. When comparing the rate of transmission, it appeared that the youngest children were most like to spread the virus. Teenagers were the least likely to infect someone in their household with Coronaviurs.
As the new Delta variant affects more and more children, this study might provide an opportunity to understand the risk children are exposed to. More than that, a new school year is here, and many schools have given up on some safety measures such as masks, basing their decision on the premise that children are less likely to spread the virus.
“In some ways, this is the opposite of what we had been told in the past. It just shows how humble we have to be when it comes to children and this virus. We always knew children could get it, could transmit it and could get sick with COVID. I think we’re learning more and more just how much,” explained Dr. Edith Bracho Sanchez from the Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York.
Some researchers believe that the high rate of infection is connected to the viral load of children, which might be higher than that of adults. For instance, one study revealed that children under 5 carry 100 times more virus in their noses compared to other age categories. Nonetheless, this finding was not yet confirmed by other studies.