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Are children fast spreaders of Covid-19?

Date: 04 August 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous


Recent studies have suggested that children may spread the novel coronavirus at least as much as adults, contrary to what was believed earlier. 



  • A study in the US assessed levels of virus genetic material in the nose, among 145 cases of mild to moderate Covid-19 within the first week of symptom onset. The viral load was compared in three age groups – children under 5, children aged 5-17, and adults.

  • Virus levels were much higher in children under 5 compared to the other two groups. The findings point to the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups.

  • An Italian study put up on a preprint server suggested that although child contacts of positive cases were less likely to become cases themselves, children were more likely to infect household members.

  • An analysis found that the greatest risk of transmission to contacts were 14 cases under age 15. Eight of the 14 (age 1-11) infected 11 of 49 contacts (22%).

  • In households with an index patient aged 10-19, it was found that 18.6% of the contacts got infected, compared to 11.8% among household contacts of index cases across all age groups. In effect, older children and teens may be strong spreaders.

  • A Swiss study traced the household contacts of all children under age 16 diagnosed at Geneva General Hospital during March 10-April 10. Of 40 households, only in three was the child found to be the index case. 

  • This suggested, the researchers wrote, that children most frequently acquire Covid-19 from adults, rather than transmitting it to them.

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