Household Transmission

August 3, 2020

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Anchor lead: What does following COVID infection in families tell us? Elizabeth Tracey reports

People other than children in a household appeared to develop COVID-19 infection first and transmit it to others, a recent found. Some interpret the study to mean that children don’t readily spread the infection. Not so fast, says Aaron Milstone, a pediatric infectious disease expert at Johns Hopkins.

Milstone: In fairness the study didn’t really comment on whether kids were a big driver or not. The study just described transmission dynamics within households. But there are lots of things we don’t know, which is kids got locked down pretty quickly, much more quickly than parents did. So I think that since parents were out going to work, parents were still interacting more and their kids were at home, so kids had less exposure and parents were then bringing it home to their kids. There’s also the observation as a parent that when you’re sick you still take care of your kids but when a kid is sick you put them in a room and you tell the other kids to stay away.  :30

Milstone says this study should not be used to inform decision making regarding opening schools, as the extent to which children communicate COVID-19 to others is not known. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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