DETROIT – New research into the coronavirus (COVID-19) suggests children are much less likely to get infected, and when they do, they’re more likely to be asymptomatic.
Safety is always a major concern when it comes to students returning to school. Children often play a significant role in spreading respiratory illnesses, so it generally makes sense to shut down schools.
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But numerous studies are finding that age makes a significant difference when it comes to the coronavirus.
British researchers studied demographic data from six countries and six published studies on infection rates and symptomatic severity. They estimate children and teenagers are only half as likely to get infected with COVID-19, compared to people over 20 years old.
When children do get infected, they are more likely to be asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, researchers said.
From ages 10 to 19, only 21% of people with the coronavirus showed symptoms, while 69% of people older than 70 showed symptoms, studies found.
Researchers said their findings suggest closing schools might have a relatively small affect on reducing the spread of COVID-19.
But the issue is complicated. Keeping schools open exposes teachers and staff members while increasing the odds of children bringing the virus home to other family members.
It’s not clear why younger people are less affected by the virus. One theory is that there might be some level of cross protection from recent exposure to other less serious types of coronaviruses.