Children not ‘high transmitters’ of coronavirus, scientist suggests

Children do not pass coronavirus on to adults as much as they do with the flu, a top Government scientist has suggested.

Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said it does not seem that children are “high-output transmitters” of Covid-19.

Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, the deputy chief medical officer for England said “data are pretty sparse at the moment” with regards to children’s ability to transmit the virus to adults.

“But the experts have already had a look at this and formed a conclusion that unlike influenza, unlike flu, where we are very clear that children drive transmission in the community to adults, it really does not seem to be the same kind of signal with Covid-19, that children are not these kind of big high output transmitters as they are with flu,” he added.

He also said that most children have only “extremely mild” Covid-19 symptoms and the infection rate among them is “about the same” as in adults, but “possibly a little lower” in younger aged children.

The news comes as a row over when schools in England should reopen to more primary school pupils rages on.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said primary school staff wanted more clarification on whether schools would have high transmission of the illness.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Specifically around the transmission from children to adults, we’ve been told over the weekend – it’s been asserted by the Government publicly over the weekend – that there isn’t the level of risk that we fear.

“However, we haven’t yet seen the scientific underpin of that.”

The Government expects reception, year one and year six children in England to be able to return to the classroom on June 1 at the earliest.

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