NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As the debate whether, when and how to re-open schools rages across school districts, parents worry if their child could get infected with the coronavirus in school.
And if they do get infected, could they bring the virus home and spread it to others in the household?
In his latest Max Minute report, CBS2’s Dr. Max Gomez dives into the data regarding kids and the spread of COVID-19.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, studies have shown that children have been less affected than adults in terms of frequency and severity of the disease. This does not mean that children are immune to COVID-19.
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Children of all ages can and do contract COVID-19. In fact, in the U.S., children under 18 represent more than 5% of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases. And while the vast majority recover, there have been more than 300 pediatric deaths reported to the CDC.
As to whether kids can bring the virus home to mom, dad and siblings and grandparents? The evidence is thin, but a new study in the journal Pediatrics concludes that rarely are the young the ones bringing coronavirus into a household.
The Swiss study looked at the medical records of 39 coronavirus-positive children under the age of 16. Their household contacts were then carefully followed during a month from early March to early April, the peak for COVID-19 cases in Switzerland.
In only 8% of cases was the child the first to develop symptoms, leading the researchers to conclude that child-to-adult transmission is relatively uncommon.
It’s not clear why children may not be good coronavirus spreaders, but it’s certainly not impossible. So the recommendation for extra caution when there’s an at-risk adult in the home still stands.