Researchers have found the viral load in infected children to be very high, especially in the first 2 days of infection. We know that transmissibility or risk of contagion is greater with a high viral load.
Two new studies, though from different parts of the world, have arrived at the same conclusion: that young children not only transmit SARS-CoV-2 efficiently, but may be major drivers of the pandemic as well.
One of the first school districts in the country to reopen its doors during the coronavirus pandemic did not even make it a day before being forced to grapple with the issue facing every system actively trying to get students into classrooms: What happens when someone comes to school infected?
The more we learn about kids and the coronavirus, the riskier reopening schools for in-person learning appears to be, at least in areas with high caseloads. There have already been many reports about the virus spreading through schools and summer camps, and evidence has begun to support the notion that children can play a key role in community transmission.
Child care just isn’t as available as it was before the pandemic. Data provided to FiveThirtyEight by the job-search website Indeed shows that child-care services have been much slower to hire again (a useful proxy for re-opening) than other areas of the economy:
Two U.S. research groups have reported finding nearly 300 cases of an alarming apparent side effect of Covid-19 in children, a condition called multisystem inflammation syndrome, or MIS-C.
The number of COVID-19 cases among children under the age of 10 in Oregon was more than five times greater at the end of June than it was one month earlier. Data shared by the Oregon Health Authority said 319 children under 10 had confirmed or presumptive positive cases by Tuesday, June 30. At the end of May, only 58 cases within that age group had been reported to the OHA.
Very few of 2,000 schoolchildren and teachers tested in the German state of Saxony showed antibodies to Covid-19, a study has found, suggesting schools may not play as big a role in spreading the virus as some had feared. The largest study conducted in Germany on schoolchildren and teachers included testing in schools where there were coronavirus outbreaks.
In the heated debate over reopening schools, one burning question has been whether and how efficiently children can spread the virus to others. A study of 65000 from South Korea offers an answer: Children younger than 10 transmit to others much less often than adults do, but the risk is not zero. And those between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as well as adults do.
The real unknown is what Covid-19 does around other viruses. Every autumn there is a predictable series of outbreaks of respiratory viruses. It starts with rhinovirus, the main cause of the common cold, which breaks out every September as young children go to school and swap mucus. As no parent needs to be told, children are to sniffles what mosquitoes are to malaria.