A new large study has found that older children can spread the coronavirus at similar rates to adults. Researchers from South Korea identified 5,700 people who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 and tested everybody who lived in their households. They also tested people who had been in contact with those individuals outside of their homes if they were showing symptoms of the viral infection.
The researchers learned that children between the ages of 10 and 19 were just as likely to spread coronavirus as adults. Children under the age of ten spread the virus at about half the rate of adults.
“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert at the University of Minnesota, said according to the New York Times.
The results of the study suggest that many communities are likely to see an increase in cases when schools reopen. Dr. Osterholm said health and education officials must take that into account when they are creating their health and safety plans.