Children and adults are almost equally likely to contract COVID-19 – but kids are nearly four times more likely to have asymptomatic cases, study finds

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  • Children and adults contract COVID-19 at nearly similar rates, although cases in children are more likely to be asymptomatic, a new study finds
  • One in five children and one in four adults tested positive for the virus during the study period at a Belgian school
  • Nearly half of the children who contracted COVID were asymptomatic, however, compared to just four asymptomatic cases in 32 adults.
  • The findings match a CDC report last week showing that half of children who contract COVID-19 will face an asymptomatic case.

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Children and adults contract COVID-19 at nearly similar rates, but asymptomatic cases are more likely in children, a new study finds.

Researchers from Lige University Hospital in Belgium, 25 miles from the border with Germany, set up a testing and tracing program at a local primary school to track how the virus spreads in the school environment.

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A total of 63 children and 118 adults took part in the study, which ran from September to December 2020.

During the study period, an equal portion of adults and children contracted the virus, although children were four times as likely to be an asymptomatic case.

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The team also found that adults often transmitted the virus to other adults while children were contracting the virus from other children.

Adults and children contracted COVID-19 at roughly similar rates during the study period, although children were nearly four times as likely to have asymptomatic cases (above).

Researchers found that adults often contract the virus from other adults while children primarily transmit the virus between each other (above)

Researchers found that adults often contract the virus from other adults while children primarily transmit the virus between each other (above)

of 63 children who took part in the study, which was published Tuesday jama network openOf the , 13 tested positive for the virus – or one out of every five.

The team also detected 32 cases out of 118 adults — or one in every four adults — who contracted the virus during a 15-week period.

While there were roughly the same number of cases among adults and children, the infection was more severe for adults.

Only four of the 32 adults who contracted COVID-19 were asymptomatic, compared to six of the 13 children.

Children were 3.8 times more likely to have asymptomatic cases than their teachers and other staff at the school.

The mean day of symptoms for children was zero, while it was 15 days for adults.

Belgian researchers are concerned that so many people have contracted the virus within schools, and think that more measures should be taken to contain the outbreak and maintain in-person learning safely.  Image: A child is tested for COVID-19 on August 5 in New York, New York

Belgian researchers are concerned that so many people have contracted the virus within schools, and think that more measures should be taken to contain the outbreak and maintain in-person learning safely. Image: A child is tested for COVID-19 on August 5 in New York, New York

The Belgian study matches findings from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention last week.

A CDC team found that nearly half of children who contract COVID-19 will not experience any symptoms, while about 90 percent of adults will.

While severe cases among children are low, Belgian researchers are still concerned about the high levels of Covid transmission found in schools.

“Despite the implementation of several mitigation measures, the incidence of COVID-19 among children attending primary school in this study was comparable to that observed between teachers and parents,” the researchers wrote.

‘Transmission tree reconstruction shows that most transmission events originated from within the school. Additional measures should be considered to reduce the transmission of [Covid] In school with intensive testing.’

In the US, schools have been found to be at the center of several COVID outbreaks.

While cases in children are relatively minor – and adult staff members have had COVID-19 vaccines that can protect them from serious infection – these outbreaks can still disrupt and close school.

Currently in the US, everyone 12 years of age or older is eligible for the COVID vaccine.

More than 76 percent of eligible Americans have received at least one shot of the vaccine, and 66 percent are fully vaccinated.

Many health officials are pushing to increase vaccine eligibility to include children as well.

Pfizer is also pushing for its vaccine – a joint effort with BioNTech to make the most widely distributed shot in the US – to be eligible for all Americans age five or older.

Even if vaccine eligibility is expanded, parents of children are divided equally as to whether their children will receive the shots.

One SurveyMott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at Michigan Medicine in July, that 39 percent of parents said their children have already received a coronavirus shot.

However, 40 percent of parents also said that it is ‘unlikely’ that their children will be vaccinated.

Another survey by Axios/Ipsos in September found that 44 percent of parents of children between the ages of five and 11 said their children were likely to get the vaccine and 42 percent said it was unlikely that their children would be vaccinated. Children will be vaccinated.

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