A lot of debate over safety concerns and schools re-opening in September has continued since the start of the pandemic, but what are the latest facts according to research to date, that we can conclude about children and Covid19?
The following list is based on research so far concerning children and Covid-19:
- Children are less likely to become ill with Covid-19 symptoms according to evidence.
- Children, if they do become ill are less likely to experience severe symptoms. Research conducted of over 55,000 hospital patients with Covid-19, found 0.8% (431) were under the age of 19. Of these, 17% (72) were admitted to critical care with 7% (28) receiving non-invasive ventilation and 9% (35) receiving invasive ventilation.
- In the same study, there were no deaths in children under 16 years of age but 3 young people, aged 16-19 years, died, and of these 2 had profound neuro-disabilities with pre-existing respiratory compromise and the third was undergoing chemotherapy.
- Some evidence suggests that children play a lesser role in transmission than adults.
- In schools that have been open abroad for some time, there is little direct evidence to indicate pupils transmit Covid-19 to teachers. It is thought that transmission is more likely to have derived from contact with other school staff and parents/carers.
- In countries where schools have been open for some time, the evidence suggests so far that school openings have made little difference to the wider community transmission. From mid-June schools in Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands opened and did not affect Covid-19 infection rates.
- It is thought that school staff will be at lower risk of severe health outcomes than people of retirement age. However, increased risk may occur in situations such as associated when a child is living with a vulnerable adult, or a staff member has an indicator of increased risk.
- Some evidence suggests that if children do contract Covid-19, their symptoms can be categorised into 3 distinct clusters of symptoms: an influenza-like illness (headache, fatigue, fever, chest/joint pain)a respiratory illness (runny nose, sore throat, shortness of breath, wheeze/cough)an abdominal illness (abdominal pain, vomiting, rash, diarrhoea).
- In mid-March 2020, the first case of multi-system inflammatory syndrome was identified. In the study referred to, 12% (52) of all children met the criteria.
- According to Sage “This evidence suggests that children isolated or quarantined during pandemic diseases are more likely to develop acute stress disorder, attachment disorder and grief.”
Research referred to taken from “Risks associated with the reopening of education settings in September 2020” Children’s Task & Finish Group.
The list is based on research so far concerning Covid-19, however, please note that the research is not definitive, as learning is ongoing about the Corona virus, so evidence is still evolving and is subject to change.