We live in unprecedented times and are walking over unfamiliar terrain. I posted a video last week to express gratitude and offer advice to teachers and TAs, based on the World Health Organisation’s situation report of March 6th 2020. The evidence in the WHO publication suggested that children become much less unwell than adults with COVID19 and are lower transmitters of the virus. Here is some text from the article: “Children are important drivers of influenza virus transmission in the community. For COVID-19 virus, initial data indicates that children are less affected than adults and that clinical attack rates in the 0-19 age group are low. Further preliminary data from household transmission studies in China suggest that children are infected from adults, rather than vice versa.“
Since that time, some fresh evidence from a small study in China has emerged in Science Daily and The Lancet to suggest that although children are at less risk from the virus overall, they may be important carriers of it (though it is stated that this is still poorly understood and needs more research). The Lancet article concludes: The most important finding to come from the present analysis is the clear evidence that children are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection, but frequently do not have notable disease, raising the possibility that children could be facilitators of viral transmission. If children are important in viral transmission and amplification, social and public health policies (eg, avoiding interaction with elderly people) could be established to slow transmission and protect vulnerable populations. There is an urgent need to for further investigation of the role children have in the chain of transmission.
As a result of this, I’ve updated my video and also highly recommend reading the latest and incredibly helpful advice from Public Health England for schools and those caring for children and young people.