Preliminary analyses in the early months of the pandemic suggested children were not significant carriers of the coronavirus. But time and further research have revealed that’s just not true.
Children five and younger can pack high levels of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, in their noses and throats — even more than adults, even if they’re only mildly ill, according to a recent study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics. The potential contagiousness of younger children remains unclear, but they “can potentially be important drivers of SARS-CoV-2 spread in the general population,” the researchers conclude.
In an outbreak at a June sleepover camp in Georgia, at least 260 children and adults contracted Covid-19 — about 44% of all kids and counselors. Among kids ages six to 10, 51% tested positive (the actual figure might be much higher because not all campers were tested). Precautions were taken, officials said, but campers weren’t required to wear masks and no efforts were made to increase ventilation in buildings.
Research from South Korea, published in mid-July by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), found that infected individuals as young as 10 can be as contagious as adults.
Read the full story below, which details how this new information could play out with schools reopening.