Here's what a new study on Covid-19 in education institutions in England says

Here’s what a new study on Covid-19 cases in schools in England says

August 24, 2020

According to a new study by Public Health England (PHE), 67 single Covid-19 cases and 30 outbreaks in schools were detected across England in June. The study concluded that coronavirus outbreaks and infections in schools are “rare” and that “children were more likely to acquire SARS-CoV-2 infection at home than in school”.

The study was conducted from June 1 to July 31 to review and follow up on Covid-19 related situations in educational institutions across England. Infection and outbreak rates were calculated for staff and students attending early year settings, primary and secondary schools.

The study identified 198 confirmed cases (70 in children and 128 in staff members) of covid-19 after schools reopened in June. This means that out of an estimated 1 million children who attended pre-school and primary school in June, only 70 were infected. The study concludes that there was a strong correlation between the number of outbreaks and regional Covid-19 incidence and that staff members had an increased risk of infection than students.

The study noted that among the 30 outbreaks, over 15 were staff to staff transmission, seven involved staff to student transmission, six involved transmission from student to staff and two were student to student transmissions. It further noted that the students who were infected, mostly acquired it at home, usually from a key worker or a healthcare worker parent. Most children were asymptomatic and were identified during contact tracing after their parents developed Covid-19 symptoms.

In the initial phases of the pandemic, it was believed that children do not spread the infection as much as adults but recent studies suggest otherwise. An Italian study published last month suggested that although a child is less likely to get infected when it comes in contact with a positive case, it is more likely for it to infect household members. Another study published in JAMA Pediatrics assessed levels of virus genetic material in the nose, among 145 cases of mild to moderate Covid-19. The levels of virus were compared among three age groups – children under 5 years, children aged 5-17 years, and adults. The study found that virus levels were much higher in children under 5 years compared with the other two groups. The findings point to the possibility that the youngest children transmit the virus as much as other age groups, the Ann & Robert H Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago said in a statement.

On the contrary, a study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics’ journal Pediatrics suggested that children most frequently acquire Covid-19 from adults, rather than transmitting it to them.

Source: Indian Express

Read: Talking to children about coronavirus and precautionary measures

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