Children ‘are not Covid-19 super spreaders’

29 April 2020

A boy of nine who contracted Covid-19 in eastern France did not pass on the virus despite contact with more than 170 people, research shows.

This suggests children may not be major spreaders.

The boy attended three ski schools after catching the virus from a British holidaymaker who had been infected while in Singapore.

The boy did not transmit the virus to any of the 172 people he was in contact with, the French health service has found. All were traced and self-confined.

Researchers say this suggests “potential different transmission dynamics in children”.

It comes as a leading paediatrician has said parents should not be worried about the risk to children’s health at school.

Dr Robert Cohen, from the hospital CHI de Créteil, Val-de-Marne, said: “I would send my grandchildren to school without any worries.”

He said fewer than 1% of France’s under-20s have been treated for Covid-19 in hospital, even though they make up 25% of the population.

He also said research shows that any child who has been ill has caught the virus after their parents and not the other way round, suggesting also that children are not such a vector for infection as first suggested.

He says there is still a lot of research to do, but it seems the risk is greater for the adults in a school than for the children, for example when parents pick up their children at the end of the school day.

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