Are children more infected with coronavirus?
Just the 1% of coronavirus patients in Spain have less than 10 years and yet they could be the most dangerous 1% of all. Especially from Sunday, April 26, when 6.4 million children under the age of 14 will be able to go out after more than a month of complete confinement.
Are children more contagious than adults? To be honest, we do not know. And neither does the Government. According to him Dr. Roi Piñeiro Pérez, Secretary of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Infectology, the measures to de-escalate the confinement may not be definitive, "As the Government has already warned on several occasions, many of the measures will be maintained or not depending on the evolution of epidemiological curves. In fact, it is possible that in some measures it will be necessary to go backwards ", he assures.
Although until now, it seemed that the children were contagious less, the new data suggests that in their case the milder disease goes unnoticed. In fact, in this invisibility of the virus lies the fear of childhood contagion: if, as it seems, 90% of infected minors do not have symptoms or present only mild symptoms, they will take less preventive measures. Something that should be avoided at all costs to reduce, with children already on the street, the risk of contagion. Faced with this dilemma, "the Ministry recommendations are the key, regarding the use of masks adapted to pediatric use and frequent hand washing, while remembering that no measure makes us immune to the virus. As parents, we must insist that our children comply with the recommendations, "says Dr. Piñeiro.
Otherwise, it does not seem clear that they have a higher viral load and it is even speculated that their contagion capacity is less than that of adults. The Center for Infectious Diseases of France She is studying the case of a nine-year-old boy (in the French Pyrenees) who, despite suffering from the disease, did not infect any of the 172 people with whom he had contact. Curiously, the flu and the cold that he suffered along with the virus did spread to other people, including his brothers.
The higher risk of contagion through children, in fact, is mainly due to their specific characteristics due to being children. First of all, like the Covid-19 It manifests itself in them in a milder way, it is much more likely that we do not know that they are suffering from it, so we will not take such drastic measures as with someone who has clear symptoms. But we must be careful, until we have more clear data about the virus, the premise is clear: children and population at risk must keep their distance, "it is desirable and recommended that, as far as possible, grandchildren and grandparents be kept separate, since it is known that advanced age is one of the factors of poor prognosis in the evolution of Covid-19," he reiterates. Dr. Piñeiro.
Also, children have a minor social distance: they touch, hug, kiss, share toys, glasses and food. In many health centers and hospitals, books and toys have been removed from pediatric waiting rooms to prevent viruses from making their way among themselves. But the truth is that absolute containment is almost impossible: they sneeze without covering their mouths, they don't clean their nose well, they can drool … Dra. Concha Sánchez Pina, President of the Spanish Association of Primary Care Pediatrics, corroborates it, "children the younger they are, the less control they have over their secretions," so when it comes to speculating on whether they are more contagious than adults, we should bear in mind, above all, that their category of 'dangerous', "is rather a matter of children's habits, not of viral load", assures Dra.
Moreover, it costs them more follow preventive hygiene measures– They are more likely to wash their hands poorly, touch their faces without thinking, wear masks improperly (or simply remove them). In addition, children under one year of age should not wear masks, thereby increasing the exposure. What can we do about it? Dr. Sánchez recommends, "look for places with few people to walk around, slowly wash their hands in a supervised way when leaving, and above all, when they return from the walk, change their shoes when they enter the house, their clothes if they have been thrown on the floor … In this way, we will prevent them from spreading and spreading to others.