Children play a larger role in the community spread of Covid-19 than previously thought, according to a study which found that the younger people may not be as likely to become seriously ill as adults, but they can spread infection and bring the virus into their homes.
In the study of 192 children ages 0-22, 49 children tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, and an additional 18 children had late-onset, Covid-19-related illness, according to the researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) in the US.
The infected children were shown to have a significantly higher level of virus in their airways than hospitalised adults in ICUs for Covid-19 treatment, report from Massachusetts General Hospital.
“I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection,” said Lael Yonker, from MGH, and lead author of the study.
“I was not expecting the viral load to be so high. You think of a hospital, and of all of the precautions taken to treat severely ill adults, but the viral loads of these hospitalised patients are significantly lower than a ‘healthy child’ who is walking around with a high SARS-CoV-2 viral load,” Yonker said.