Kids (<18 years) make up of 10% of COVID19 infections in the United States. Because of that, it’s taken a bit more time to have enough infected kids for meaningful analyses (compared to adults). The CDC published an important study Tuesday assessing school, community, and close contact exposures associated with child and adolescent COVID-19 infection.
The study took place from Sept to Nov 2020 in Mississippi. 397 parents of children who recently had a COVID19 test completed a phone survey. They answered questions about symptoms, close contact with a person with known COVID-19, school or child care attendance, and family or community exposures ≤14 days before the COVID test. Then, scientists compared the answers across kids with a COVID19- test to kids with a COVID19+ test. There were a couple things they found…
COVID+ kids were MORE likely to have…
- Had close contact with a person with known COVID-19. And, this close contact was more likely to be a family member than someone at school
- Attended gatherings with people outside their home, including social gatherings (weddings, parties, funerals, birthday parties), playdates, or to have had visitors at home
COVID+ kids were LESS likely to have…
- Consistent mask use by students and staff members inside school or child care facilities
Interestingly, there were essentially no difference between COVID+ and kids going to…
- Sports events or concerts (18% COVID+ vs. 20% COVID- kids)
- In-person school or child care (62% COVID+ vs. 68% COVID-)
- Religious services (13% COVID+ vs. 18% COVID-)
- Restaurants (20% COVID+ vs. 16% COVID-)
- Travel with others (5% COVID+ vs. 3% COVID-)
- Household member working in health care (24% COVID+ vs. 21% COVID-)
Before I get the comments, here are a few important notes…
1. This doesn’t mean, for example, you have carte blanche to go to indoor restaurants. This is a study of kids. This does not mean you, as a parent, won’t get it or spread it
2. No, there is no data on teachers or staff. Yes, that would be a needed analysis. I’m sure it’s coming.
3. Yes, masks work. This study showed that adults wearing masks helps kids, especially within schools and child care center. If you need more evidence, check out my previous post (https://yourlocalepidemiologist.com/masks-work/)
4. Opening schools is a bit more complex than kids getting infected. Kids are less likely to get sick (and not go get a test), but they harbor the disease and have the potential to spread it to others. Unfortunately, we still don’t know the rate of transmission from kids to adults.
Finally, I would like to take a moment to recognize how quickly and hard these scientists had to have worked to get this information out to the public. Data collection ended November 5, 2020. That means, within a MONTH, they cleaned the data, analyzed the data, came to meaningful conclusions, wrote up the science, sent it up the CDC ranks for approval, responded to feedback, and submitted for publishing. For the record, this typically takes 1-2 YEARS. Absolutely incredible.
Data Source: Hobbs CV, Martin LM, Kim SS, et al. Factors Associated with Positive SARS-CoV-2 Test Results in Outpatient Health Facilities and Emergency Departments Among Children and Adolescents Aged <18 Years — Mississippi, September–November 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1925-1929. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6950e3