Knowledge of the latest science sees fewer children seem to get infected by the coronavirus than adults, and most of those who do have mild symptoms if any. But among the most important unanswered questions about Covid-19 is this: do they pass the virus on to adults and continue the chain of transmission?
Two new and emerging studies are offering compelling evidence that children can transmit COVID-19 virus that has been keeping most parts of the world under quarantine and lockdowns.
Epidemiologists are saying these studies provide strong arguments in favour of keeping schools closed around the world until the pandemic passes.
The first study from China, published on April 29 in the journal Science titled “Changes in contact patterns shape the dynamics of the COVID-19 outbreak in China”, found that children were about a third as susceptible to infections as adults were.
However, when schools were open, the study found that children had about three times as many contacts with other people as adults and thus three times as many opportunities to become infected.
Based on the data from the study, researchers estimate that school closures could reduce the number of COVID-19 cases by about 40 to 60 percent.
The second study from Germany was led by Dr. Christian Drosten, a prominent virologist whose lab has tested about 60,000 people for the coronavirus. The study, consistent with other studies, found that adults are more likely to get infected by coronavirus than children.
Of the children who did test positive for the virus, however, they were found to have as much of the virus as adults, sometimes even more, even if they are asymptomatic, and so, they are presumably just as infectious as adults.
What is Kawasaki Disease, Is it related to COVID-19?
In addition to the previous studies, new COVID-19 studies are emerging with an alarming suggestion of a possible link between COVID-19 and toxic shock or Kawasaki disease.
Kawasaki disease is a rare illness in children that is associated with inflammation of the blood vessels.
Currently, there are at least 15 children, ages 2 to 15, in New York City and several European countries including Italy, Britain, France, and Spain, have reported dozens of cases where children have been hospitalized with symptoms of the illness, many of whom have tested positive for COVID-19.
While most children infected by COVID-19 have not developed serious respiratory failure that has afflicted adults, a new mysterious syndrome has emerged and the anticipated risk to children may be greater than previously thought.
Most of the 15 children had a fever and many had a rash, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Fortunately, many of the children who have shown symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease have responded well to treatment and none have died from the disease.
Symptoms of the Kawasaki disease is said to start with a fever and a rash, generally affecting patients from 6 months old to 6 years old and considered rare.
If the illness goes undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to potential heart conditions such as coronary aneurysms.
In an interview this past Tuesday, Dr. James Schneider, Chief of Pediatric Critical Care at Cohen Children’s Medical Centre, NY, has said: “This is only a disease that has been clear for two weeks now, so there is much we’re trying to learn about this.”
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