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CDC Reports Children May Have ‘Important Role’ in Spreading Coronavirus

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on overnight camps released on Friday shows that children may have more to do with spreading the coronavirus than previous reports suggested.

The study notes that an outbreak occurred at an overnight summer camp in Georgia last June, despite the camp taking safety measures, among the 120 staff members, 138 trainees, and 363 campers. Of the 344 attendees that were tested for the coronavirus, 260 tested positive, with 51% of 6-10 year olds, 44% of 11-17 year olds, and 33% of 18-21 year olds testing positive.

“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the study reads. “Asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission, as has been previously reported. This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission.”

The study notes that “The multiple measures adopted by the camp were not sufficient to prevent an outbreak in the context of substantial community transmission. Relatively large cohorts sleeping in the same cabin and engaging in regular singing and cheering likely contributed to transmission. Use of cloth masks, which has been shown to reduce the risk for infection, was not universal. An ongoing investigation will further characterize specific exposures associated with infection, illness course, and any secondary transmission to household members. Physical distancing and consistent and correct use of cloth masks should be emphasized as important strategies for mitigating transmission in congregate settings.”

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