Dr. Joss Reimer, Director of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, says current data suggests that children cannot be effective carriers of COVID-19.
She notes that children do not know how to physically distance themselves or wash their hands regularly, so many worry that children can accelerate the spread of the virus. Instead, many studies show that children are not the greatest risk factors. In Manitoba, 30% of the population is under 20, but only 5% of COVID-19 cases were found in this age group. “This indicates that the children are not infected at all, or are infected, but have mild symptoms,” she says.
Reimer notes that the data came from China, as well as a study from Australia that tracks 18 cases in school (nine students, nine teachers). Of the 900 close contacts they were able to track, only two were COVID-19 cases. “Typically, 10-15% of people who are in close contact with the diseased get infected and have symptoms,” says Reimer. “So two out of 900 are much lower than we expected.”