Children with COVID-19 carry the maximum amount or more coronavirus in their nose as adults,
suggesting that they might pose a significant infection risk if schools and day care centers reopen, a new
study argues. Coronavirus testing performed in Chicago in March and April shows that children and
teenagers tend to possess the maximum amount virus in their nasal passages as adults,
In fact, children younger than 5 carried the very best viral loads, the researchers reported.
"They aren't always those who are washing their hands or wearing their masks." The findings call into
question earlier epidemiological studies seemingly showing that children don't tend to spread the novel
coronavirus between themselves or regularly infect adults. Based on those studies, the U.S.
Some of the arguments that are made in reference to schools and day cares opening is that perhaps
children are unable to form the virus as efficiently in their nose, and that is why they are not as sick,"
Heald-Sargent said. "This data would argue against that. They are ready to sustain replication, an
equivalent amount as older individuals, if less ." For this study, Heald-Sargent and her colleagues
took a glance back at nasal samples taken from 145 patients diagnosed with COVID-19.
Kids certainly have virus and are replicating virus in their nose as efficiently, if less efficiently,
than adults,"Heald-Sargent said. "It would be logical they will also spread the virus or transmit the virus."
"It's one thing to seek out virus within the nasal passages of a toddler versus finding epidemiological
evidence of youngsters passing it on to people ," Adalja said. "That's the key thing -- we're still not seeing
outbreaks being driven by children to the extent they're driven by older individuals, and that is despite the
very fact that they have the virus in their nose." According to the CDC, just 7% of U.S. COVID-19 cases,
and fewer than 0.1% of related deaths, have occurred in people under the age of 18. And so far in 2020,
fewer children have died from COVID-19 than typically die from the flu during a given year. It remains a
mystery why kids haven't been shown to be as infectious as adults when it involves COVID-19, Adalja
said. It might be that children aren't getting as sick and thus don't cough the maximum amount ,
spreading airborne virus, Adalja said. It also might be that because children are smaller, their airborne
respiratory particles are more likely to fall to the bottom before an adult can inhale them.
Heald-Sargent thinks the matter could be with the timing of the epidemiologic studies that
showed low transmission rates in children.