A new study by Vall d’Hebron hospital in Barcelona has found that only 8 percent of children who were patients there and had confirmed coronavirus, had transmitted the virus to a family member, reports El País.
This could explain why the infection rates in schools has not increased significantly since they reopened in September.
The study included 1,081 paediatric patients with a positive PCR test and 3,515 family members that were diagnosed with the coronavirus, and was carried out between July 1st and October 31st.
The first results of the study were from the period of March 1st to May 31st, during the strict Spanish lockdown when schools were closed and most people were confined to their homes. During this time, researchers found that only 3.4 percent of child patients had transmitted Covid-19 to a member of their family.
The later data covers the summer period and the first seven weeks after the schools reopened, when children had a lot more contact with each other. In this part of the study, in 783 of the cases (72.4 percent), another member of the family caught the virus first before the child. It was only in 86 cases (8 percent) however that the child had passed it onto one of their family members.
In only 5percent of these cases did the child catch the virus from another child in the family, meaning that transmission between children is considered low.
Pere Soler, head of the paediatric unit of infectious and immunodeficient diseases at Vall d’Hebron hospital told El País: “The later study confirms that children transmit the virus less than adults do in the household, than the first part of the study had indicated. Now we can see that the free movement of children and the return to school has not led to a greater transmission of the virus”.
The study also interestingly found that 47 percent of the children who tested positive for Covid-19 (506) were asymptomatic.
Magda Campins, the head of preventive medicine and epidemiology at Vall d’Hebron hospital told El País: “The impact of Covid-19 on children in Catalonia continued to be very minor after the confinement period, with children freely moving about. In more than 70 percent of cases, the infection has been spread by an adult”.
The number of PRC tests being carried out within schools across the country has increased dramatically in last few months. During the first eight weeks since schools in Spain reopened, 287,046 PCR tests were carried out on children.