In a new study, asymptomatic children are linked to the widespread transmission of the virus. A South Korea research published Friday says that they could potentially be carriers of the virus without experiencing symptoms and is highly likely that it could be the reason for the rapid spread of Coronavirus in areas.
91 children, a mix of asymptomatic, presymptomatic, and symptomatic but all diagnosed with Covid-19 were the subjects of the study. Data were taken dates back to February 18 until March 31 from 22 health facilities all over South Korea. Findings showed that out of the 91, 20 of the children did not develop visible symptoms throughout the time span of the study. 18 children developed delayed symptoms, while the rest showed the typical flu-like symptoms along with diarrhea, stomach pain, and loss of sense of smell or taste. Duration varies from one child to another, 36 days at the most.
Children are evidently equally vulnerable to the virus. As a matter of fact, numerous data gathered from different countries have proven so. It coincides with another study that shows 40% of infected adults are not likely to experience any symptoms according to two doctors from the Children’s National Hospital in Washington who were not involved in the said research.
“The vast majority of infected children have mild or unrecognized disease, and this population may play important epidemiologic roles by potentiating spread of infection through communities and/or boosting herd immunity,” according to both doctors.
While all testing is directed towards symptomatic patients, the researchers estimated that 93% of infected children are most likely to have not been tested.
The US CDC was met with criticism for the change they made on their Covid testing guidelines. The recent update does not anymore require asymptomatic people to be tested, regardless of the possibility that they may have had close contact with a confirmed positive patient. “A dangerous step backward,” is what the American Academy of Pediatrics called this move. The announcement came around the same time that this study was made public.
"We know that children often show few or no symptoms of COVID-19. We also know they are not immune to this virus, and they can become very sick. Testing exposed individuals who may not yet show symptoms of COVID-19 is crucial to contact tracing, which helps identify and support other people who are at risk of infection," AAP President Dr. Sally Goza said.
This only provides more proof and necessity to have a broader scope with tracing and testing to contain virus transmission. While it does not entirely point to children as primary factors for rapid viral transmission, they should not be overlooked in regards to testing. The negligence of this factor can be of significant negative impact on the efforts being exerted in eradicating the virus.
Swab tests are currently the most accurate form of testing for Covid-19 available. If children are going to be swabbed, the traces of the virus detected do not also mean the transmittable kind especially for the asymptomatic.
Nevertheless, the new data can serve as a basis for authorities to realize the threat that school reopening poses to the health of the children.