Children may not transmit the novel coronavirus as much as adults as much as they do with seasonal flu, two epidemiologists said on Tuesday. However, they also warned that the bad news was that human immunity may not last that long. The comments from the two epidemiologists come as disagreements continue between governments and teaching unions over when children should go back to school.
Over the past few weeks, there have been conflicting news reports on the ability of children to spread the novel coronavirus. This is somewhat understandable given that the knowledge about the new coronavirus and the illness it causes (Covid-19) is still rapidly developing.
Children Relatively Safe
According to two U.K.-based epidemiologists, there are tentative signs that children are less likely to spread Covid-19 infections compared to adults, although they also alerted that human immunity may not last that long. "We think children are less likely to get it so far but it is not certain, we are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes and there are hints that children are less infectious but it is not certain," Rosalind Eggo, one of the doctors who is part of committees that advice the British government, said.
As countries across Europe and Asia, and the United States start reopening offices and businesses and get back to work after surviving the first wave of the deadly coronavirus, governments and administrations are also working out when it is safe for children and students to venture out of their homes and join schools.
Another doctor, John Edmunds, a member of Britain's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said that it was quite surprising that children didn't play much of a role in spreading Covid-19 infection. Death from Covid-19 is also very rare among young people although it has affected people of all age groups.
Children Less Prone to Catching Coronavirus
Covid-19 has been reported in children and young people of all ages. However, less than 1 per cent Covid-19 affected children have died globally. However, much like in adults, fever and cough are common Covid-19 symptoms and children too can develop pneumonia from the illness.
A number of research studies have been done to understand how severely children can get affected by the novel coronavirus. Three community testing studies have presented significantly lower rates of infection in children compared to adults. One of these studies screened 70 per cent of the population in one Italian town where 2.6 per cent of residents tested positive. However, there were no positive cases in under-10s and a 1.2% positive rate in 11 to 20 year olds.