Recent Data Could Calm Fears About COVID-19 in Schools
With many kids returning to school this fall, parents are wondering just how much their kids are at risk of contracting COVID-19 and just how dangerous it might be for them. Recent studies and data suggest it may not be as bad as people think.
According to an article from the CDC published August 14th, kids represent about 9 percent of all reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S. But most kids who get COVID won’t become as sick as adults. Some won’t have any symptoms at all, even though they could still act as carriers for the virus.
A recent study published August 1st from the Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics titled “COVID-19 Transmission and Children” suggests that kids are not a key component of spreading acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, which is essentially the virus that causes the illness we refer to as COVID-19.
According to the article, recent data from various countries suggests that kids are more likely to be infected by adults than they are to infect adults themselves, or even other kids.
In one particular study, a 9-year-old boy with COVID-19 exposed over 172 people at three different schools back in February 2020. During contact tracing, 70 of those exposed did have respiratory symptoms, and yet all tested negative for COVID-19.
Another study from New South Wales, Australia, followed nine students and nine staff members with COVID-19 who had close contact with more than 735 other students and 128 other staff members. Of those exposed, only 2 other secondary infections could be identified.
In other words, the transmission of COVID-19 in schools does not appear to be as likely or as prevalent as it is in the general community.
A German study of over 47 kids infected with COVID-19 has shown that they have a viral load very similar to the viral load found in adults, and yet kids do not appear to spread the virus as easily as adults do.
The pediatrics article suggests that kids may not spread the virus as easily because they commonly experience much milder symptoms and for a shorter period of time.
But even if COVID-19 is hard for kids to catch, how deadly can it be if they do? So far, about 183,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S. But according to the CDC, between 90 and 95 percent of those deaths are from those over the age of 50.
In the U.S., a reported total of 31 people have died between the ages of 1 and 4, and 54 people have died between the ages of 5 and 17, making up less than 1 percent of deaths related to COVID-19 in the U.S.