Study: Children May Play Larger Role in COVID-19 Spread Than Previously Thought

A recent study published concluded children may play a larger role than originally thought in transmitting COVID-19. 

As Pfizer’s vaccine becomes available for children aged 5 to 11 and parents consider whether or not to vaccinate their children, a recent study published in JAMA Network Open may give them more data to ponder.

The study collected data from an elementary school in Liège, Belgium from September 21 to December 2020.  Over 181 people participated, including 118 parents and school employees, and 63 children. Participants were tested weekly for 15 weeks using PCR, and those who tested positive filled out a questionnaire about their symptoms. Researchers conducted genetic sequencing and contact tracing.

“Of the observed household transmission events, most seemed to have originated from a child or teacher who acquired the infection at school,” wrote researchers, including Dr. Christelle Meuris, an infectious disease doctor at Liège University Hospital.

 According to the Dallas Morning News, despite low numbers, children were also more likely to have symptoms than adults.

“Mitigation measures of testing, contact tracing, and isolation should be strengthened so that schools can continue to stay open and children and staff are safe,” researchers wrote.  “The possible role of schools in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 should also be included in the discussion regarding vaccination strategies (in particular, whether to vaccinate children).”

Read more from the Dallas Morning News here.

In other news:

  • The Texas Department of State Health Services announced in a statement issued Thursday that they will expand genomic sequencing of “the virus that causes COVID-19” in a partnership with universities and labs across the state.  The partnership, called the Texas SARS-CoV-2 Variant Network, will “sequence and study more COVID-19 samples from around the state to provide a better picture of circulating and emerging variants of the COVID-19 virus”, according to their statement. Read more from DSHS here.
  • The Dallas Park and Recreation Board passed a resolution to support national, state, and local efforts to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to eligible individuals.  The board also encouraged city park and recreation professionals and their families to be vaccinated. Read the board’s statement here.

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