As health officials continue to examine what role children have in spreading the novel coronavirus, new evidence shows that young children who become infected at daycare centers can transmit the virus to family members at home.
Utilizing contract tracing data, a new study published by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention examined outbreaks at three child care facilities in Utah between April to July.
Twelve children were found to have contracted the virus at the facilities, and although the majority experienced only mild symptoms — with three being asymptomatic — together they spread the virus to at least 12 people outside of the facility.
One mother, who researchers believe was likely infected by her asymptotic child, was hospitalized after contracting the virus. In another facility, an 8-month-old child transmitted COVID-19 to both their parents.
Researchers found that the likely rate of transmission between children and those with whom they had close contact outside of the child care centers was 25 percent. Half of the cases were reported in mothers of the children, while an additional three occurred in siblings.
Although all three facilities implemented measures in an effort to limit the spread of the disease, including daily temperature checks, not all of the facilities required staff members to wear masks, and none required children to do so.
The CDC recommends that every person over the age of 2 should wear masks in an effort to reduce the likelihood of outbreaks. They went on to note that this guidance is particularly important in facilities where there are children who are too young to wear masks.
Additionally, the agency recommends that child care programs should follow proper hand washing guidance, engage in frequent cleaning and disinfecting and encourage people to stay home if they’re sick — or have had contact with somebody who has been exposed to the virus.
The new study was released just days after the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association reported that over half a million children in the United Sates have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
The two groups reported that as of Sept. 3, there had been a 16 percent increase in pediatric cases over the past two weeks — with at least 103 children dying from COVID-19 during that time.
“These numbers are a chilling reminder of why we need to take this virus seriously,” said AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said in a statement. “While much remains unknown about COVID-19, we do know that the spread among children reflects what is happening in the broader communities.”
As of Monday morning, more than 6.5 millionAmericans have tested positive for COVID-19 and at least 193,950 people have died, according to The New York Times.
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