According to a new study published today, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) spreads extensively in families, with children serving as a primary source of transmission for the virus.
During the study period, approximately half of the household members were infected through contact with the first-affected individual.
However, despite the fact that children were less likely than adults to spread the virus, both children and adults were equally likely to contract the virus from the first-infected individual.
The antibody surveillance study “Household transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from unvaccinated asymptomatic and symptomatic household members with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection,”
which was published in CMAJ Open, included 695 participants from 180 households in Ottawa between September 2020 and March 2021, and was conducted between September 2020 and March 2021 in Ottawa.
It was decided that the study would include families in which at least one person had a confirmed COVID-19 infection and that each participating household would have at least one child in it.
“However, despite the fact that we were dealing with a less transmissible virus at the time and that pandemic limits were in place, we nevertheless had a 50 percent transmission rate inside households in our study.
Think about where we are now: a highly transmissible variant of COVID-19 has been discovered, and the vast majority of pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
It is safe to assume that transmission rates will be higher even though we have a high vaccination rate among those who are eligible for vaccination “Professor of Pediatrics at the Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Maala Bhatt, is the study’s lead author and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics.
“I understand that many people want to ‘live with COVID’ and do away with the layers of protection that were previously required, but it’s crucial to be aware of the significant risk of transmission of this virus in enclosed, indoor environments such as schools and universities.
Even our most vulnerable and smallest children, who are not yet able to receive a COVID vaccination, are still at risk of contracting the disease.”
It appears that the amount of COVID-19 in Eastern Ontario is increasing. In Ottawa, the COVID-19 wastewater virus signal has reached record levels, according to the CDC.
In addition, according to regional public health authorities, the percentage of positive tests is high in the region overall. It has been reported that the number of COVID-19 positive admissions to CHEO has been increasing in recent weeks, nearing levels recorded in January and early February.
Three-quarters of all children treated to CHEO with COVID-19 were admitted during the Omicron wave, according to the hospital. Since the beginning of January, about 4,900 monthly visits to the Emergency Department have been for symptoms related to COVID-19. This is one in every three visits.
As more infectious variations were available, the researchers predicted that children would become “an even bigger source of dissemination within homes,” according to their findings.
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It has been determined that children have a “great potential to spread” in places like school and daycare, where they congregate indoors for extended amounts of time, particularly given that masking is not needed in many areas.
Doctor Bhatt, a pediatric emergency physician and Director of Emergency Medicine Research at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), and an Investigator at the CHEO Research Institute said,
“While we’re fortunate that hospitals aren’t currently overloaded, emergency departments are, and positivity rates are on the rise, even among children.”
“All of these topics are being researched further as we discover more about COVID-19 and its possible long-term health consequences. We also don’t know how long immunity lasts, which is something that researchers are still trying to figure out.
As significant COVID-19 transmission continues within households and throughout the community, it is critical to continue doing everything you can to protect yourself and those around you.
This includes wearing a mask while indoors, washing your hands, getting vaccinated with all of the doses you are eligible for, staying at home if you are sick, and limiting close contact with others.”