News and Notes

Research Round-up: New Studies on Kids, COVID, Higher Risks for In-Person School Households, and How to Reduce Risks

by | Mar 6, 2021 | Research

Recent studies have a deluge of new information about kids, COVID, and schools. Here we go on a quick round-up of some major research:
➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– CDC MMWR featured study: Actual number of kids infected with COVID-19 is much higher and simply under-reported. (Our note: Seems like that whole “kids don’t get COVID” thing is so 2020.)
πŸ“Œ Reviewed serologic testing of blood specimens from May–September 2020, from 1,603 persons aged <18 years.
πŸ“Œ Found that 113,842 (16.3%!!!!) of 698,420 kids in Mississippi were likely infected with SARS-CoV-2 by mid-September 2020. (That was before schools reopened in fall.)
πŸ“Œ But wait…. ONLY 8,993 kiddos <18 years old were ever confirmed via the standard COVID tests at that time.
πŸ“Œ Findings suggest ➑️ 12 TIMES MORE cases in kids than has been known.

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– MASSIVE study of 3-million adults in Denmark finds that the more children you have, the GREATER your risks of adults in the household catching COVID-19. Stunning work: they tracked a **nationwide** cohort of every adult in the country from February 27 to November 15.
Adults with…
πŸ“Œ Any children ➑️ 5% higher risk of getting COVID.
πŸ“Œ 2 young kids ➑️ 13% higher risk
πŸ“Œ 3+ young kids ➑️ 42% higher risk
πŸ“Œ Just kids over age 6 ➑️ 31% higher risk
πŸ“Œ “The association could be a result of a higher number of social contacts … or due to infection brought into the household by the young children.”
Denmark Study shows increased chance of COVID with young kids in household

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– Top scholars (mostly from Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health) published a report (preprint), that adults living with children attending full-time in-person school are more likely to become COVID-19+ in the USA.
πŸ“Œ Adults with a kid in full-time in-person school ➑️ 38% higher odds of reporting a “COVID-like illness.”
πŸ“Œ Older students higher risk for adults than younger kids if in full-time in-person school. (Not as much age variation for hybrid students.)
πŸ“Œ Outcomes better the more mitigations your school system puts in place (down to almost zero risk possible). Each measure implemented decreases odds of illness by about 9%.
πŸ“Œ Plastic plexiglass cubbies β€” pandemic “safety theater” item that we have now in our local schools β€” are associated with MORE COVID-like illness. Yep. More.
πŸ“Œ Unfortunately, no data was collected on ventilation, which has been the norm for so many studies (and extremely aggravating). Survey covered masking, restricted entry, extra space, reduced class size, daily symptom screens, cohorts, moving activities outdoors, + other mitigations.
πŸ“Œ Great thread on “pandemic plexi theater” spun off this:
Thread on "Pandemic Plexi"

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– CDC MMWR featured study resorts to messaging with arrows about masks and dining:
πŸ“Œ COVID transmission goes ⬇️ ⬇️ ⬇️ where more people wear masks.
πŸ“Œ COVID transmission goes ⬆️ ⬆️ ⬆️ where more people eat indoors in restaurants.
(Side note from Smart Restart: School cafeterias are maskless, indoor dining venues that will make contact tracing difficult.)

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– The REACT 1 programme is tracking cases of COVID-19 in England, and the latest round of random testing shows children (aged 5-12 years) are now more likely to be infected than ANY other age group. This is concerning. The B.1.1.7 variant is now dominant.

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– French data shows B.1.1.7 is now dominant form of COVID-19 for kids ages 0-9.

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– Spanish (preprint) data study suggests that children may be drivers of SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the general population at the same level as adults. They have the same viral load, even if they are asymptomatic. (Asymptomatic adults have lower viral loads.)

➑️ 🦠 πŸ“– Concise perspective piece / rebuttal of her critics who assert that “kids don’t spread COVID.” Written by Dr. ZoΓ« Hyde, an Australian epidemiologist and biostatistician, who has been researching COVID-19 in children for the past year.
πŸ“Œ She argues that data suggest that both primary schools and high schools are potentially risky environments if community transmission is not kept low, and mitigation measures are not put in place.
πŸ“Œ Her opinion is also that children in primary school don’t mix anywhere near as much as high school students do (changing classes, passing in the hallways, etc.) so they have less opportunities to transmit β€” not that they *can’t* catch and transmit the virus pretty much the same as older kids.