Scientists and health authorities have often observed that children do not appear to contract and transmit the virus to the same extent as adults.
While the mechanisms behind this have remained somewhat mysterious , new evidence from South Korea shows that the age of children is also a vital factor to consider, with a large study indicating that older children seem to spread coronavirus on par with adults.
A research team led by preventive medicine physician Young Joon Park from the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention examined South Korean contact tracing reports from when the first case of COVID-19 was identified in the country on January 20, up until March 27.
During this window, 5,706 index patients were identified, meaning confirmed cases who were the first people identified as having COVID-19 in an investigated cluster or setting.
Contact tracing efforts chased up and tested 59,073 people who had contact with these confirmed cases, and it showed that, as expected, people living in the same household as an infected person are the most likely to get the virus.
Among 10,592 of these household contacts tested in the study, 11.8 percent of people ended up also having COVID-19, whereas just 1.9 percent of non-household contacts had the virus.
"Higher household than non-household detection might partly reflect transmission during city lockdown, when family members largely stayed home except to perform essential tasks, possibly creating spread within the household," the researchers explain in their study, which is in early release.
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