Children May be Silent Carriers of Covid-19

New research shows that children may play a larger role in the community spread of Covid-19 than recently suspected. As per a report published in the Journal of Pediatrics, children who had Covid-19 were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than adults who were hospitalized for Covid-19 treatment.

“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” said lead author, Lael Yonker.

He further added that he was not expecting the viral load to be so high. He continued,

“You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalized patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load.”

Source: Cambridge

These examinations are led by specialists from Massachusetts General Hospital and Mass General Hospital for Children, took a gander at 192 kids ages 0-22, of which 49 tried positive for Covid-19, and another 18 kids had late-beginning Covid-19-related disease.

The investigation found that while more younger children are less inclined to get infected or truly sick from the infection, their viral load didn’t diminish. As indicated by the researchers, this finding proposes that regardless of their lower number of the infection receptors, kids can carry a high viral load and are hence more infectious.

“Kids are not immune from this infection, and their symptoms don’t correlate with exposure and infection,” said professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and study co-author, Alessio Fasano.

Previously, a month ago an investigation was published in JAMA, found that children spread Covid-19 more productively than adults in light of the fact that they have a high viral load. As indicated by the aftereffects of that review, kids aged five and younger who developed mild to moderate Covid-19 symptoms had 10 to 100 times more of the virus in the their nose and throat than older children and adults. Discoveries from these investigations convey significant ramifications for the returning of schools and daycare centers.

“This study provides much-needed facts for policymakers to make the best decisions possible for schools, daycare centers and other institutions that serve children,” said Fasano.

Source: ECDC

Children are a potential source of spreading this infection, and this ought to be considered in the arranging stages for returning schools. For instance, the authors, alongside different specialists, suggest not depending on body temperature or symptom monitoring to identify Covid-19 infection in the school setting. They explained that even when children exhibit symptoms typical of Covid-19, like fever, runny nose and cough, they often overlap with common childhood illnesses and make it harder to get an accurate diagnosis of Covid-19.

Rather, specialists recommend disease control measures, similar to social distancing, wearing a face cover, frequent hand washing and actualizing a mix of far off and in-person learning. They included that daily practice and continuous screening of all students for Covid-19 infection with timely reporting of the results is an essential part of a safe return-to-school policy. Fasano likewise cautioned that a hurrying to return schools without legitimate arranging could bring about a spike of Covid-19 cases, as kids can bring the infection back home. This is a worry for certain families more than others, as exploration keeps on indicating that there are huge racial and financial variations.

Just this week a study that analyzed data from 12 different states found that ethnic minorities are still disproportionately hospitalized for Covid-19. The study reported that in Ohio, Black patients accounted for 31.8% of hospitalizations but only make up 13% of the population. In Virginia, Hispanic people accounted for 36.2% of hospitalizations, compared with 9.6% of the population. And in the study published today, researchers noted that more than half the children with Covid-19 came from low-income communities. In comparison, only 2% came from high-income communities.

“If schools were to reopen fully without necessary precautions, it is likely that children will play a larger role in this pandemic,” they concluded.

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