A new study led by Dr. Taylor Heald-Sargent, a pediatric infectious diseases specialist at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago has found that children under the age of five are emerging as coronavirus carriers, as their between 10 and 100 times more genetic material from the novel coronavirus in their noses, when compared to older children, adults, and old-age people.
The Transmission Dilemma
Even though researchers did not measure the transmissibility of the pandemic, this new finding raises many questions, especially at a time when schools start reopening.
"We had just noticed that some of the children that we were testing for SARS CoV-2 that were positive, the youngest children seemed to have a high amount of the viral nucleic acid -- a high viral load in their nose -- compared to some of our older children and adults," said Heald-Sargent.
Heald-Sargent and his team made this conclusion after analyzing samples collected from patients with mild to moderate. Out of these participants, 46 were children under the age of five, while 48 were adults aged between 18 and 65. The remaining 51 participants were aged five to 18.
In their study report, researchers noted that children under the age of five have ''a 10-fold to 100-fold greater amount of the coronavirus in the upper respiratory tract."
Heald-Sargant added that more studies should be carried out to know whether these children will transmit the infection to adults. However, she made it clear that stay-at-home measures implemented in mid-March might have actually prevented kids from transmitting the disease.
"Any grade-school teacher or pediatrician will tell you, [young children] are pretty effective little vectors of virus transmission, because we get sick a lot in the winter from these kids. I think looking at other viruses that are similar ...it would seem more likely that kids will be transmitting," added Heald-Sargant, CNN reports.
The Vitality of Goggles and Face Shields
In the meantime, Anthony Fauci, one of the lead members of the Trump Administration's White House COVID-19 Task Force has urged the citizens of the United States to wear goggles and face shields to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
According to Fauci, face shields and goggles are also a must to prevent the drastic spread of coronavirus, as there is mucosa in the eyes, through which this pathogen will enter the human body.