DETROIT – A major concern about children at school is the risk of them bringing COVID back home to their parents, siblings and other relatives.
A new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed more about how children can spread the virus in a household and who poses the greatest risk.
The biggest threat of spreading COVID at home might come from the smallest family members.
The new study looked at nearly 6,300 households where a child was the first person to test positive for coronavirus. In 27% of the homes, COVID spread to other family members.
While teens -- ages 14 to 17 -- were most likely to bring the virus home, those ages and younger had the highest risk of infecting others in their family.
Researchers suspect this is because older children are easier to isolate, while the youngest still need close care.
The study said that while it’s impossible to isolate the youngest children, it’s important for caregivers to use other precautions -- such as wearing masks, increased hand washing and separating the sick child from siblings.
The research was done before the more contagious delta variant was spreading.
There is concern school-age children will play an even greater role in transmitting the virus now with the return to in-person learning and fewer mask mandates in place.
Researchers said getting everyone in the household over the age of 12 vaccinated can greatly help reduce the risk of spread at home.
More than 121,000 new COVID cases in children were reported in the United States last week.