Infants and toddlers under the age of three are the least susceptible to coronavirus, but they become the most dangerous carriers of the disease if infected. This is stated in a study by the Health Agency of Canada, published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics.
The study was conducted based on data on cases of COVID-19 infection in the Canadian province of Ontario from June 1 to December 31, 2020. Scientists analyzed all the positive tests received in each family and then identified the so-called “index case” – the person who first felt the symptoms of the coronavirus and gave a positive test for it.
They identified 6,280 families in which the first infected person was less than 18 years old, and then identified secondary patients in the same house who became ill within two weeks after the first one’s symptoms were detected. As a result, it turned out that the risk of severe illness and death from coronavirus is still significantly lower in young children compared to adolescent children and adults. At the same time, babies and toddlers are more likely to transmit the disease to others because they are cared for in close contact — hugged, held in their arms.
According to the authors of the study, these results will help to adjust the strategies for preventing the disease of children in schools, kindergartens, and other institutions, in particular, ventilation of premises, cleaning of classrooms, wearing masks, and, if necessary, transferring students to distance learning. It will also help strengthen the importance of vaccination of all persons over the age of 12 who come into contact with young children.