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COVID-19 pandemic: The role of children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), 1st update

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A rapid review
Brurberg, KG.
Publication Date: 
30 Apr 2020

Excerpted from the key messages

Are children infected with SARS-CoV-2?

The SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in many children. There is no doubt that also children are infected, but children seem less prone to infection than adults.

Do children with COVID-19 become sick?

Children may fall ill from the virus, and typically display symptoms such as fever and airway symptoms. Available data strongly suggest that children with COVID-19 experience milder symptoms than adults, but evidence regarding children in differ- ent age groups is more uncertain. Critical illness and deaths are rarely observed among children.

Can children transmit the virus, and if so, to whom?

Current evidence suggest that children can transmit SARS-CoV-2, but there is no ev- idence that children are key drivers of transmission. Evidence is sparse, and it is too early to conclude firmly about the role children play in transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

What are the measurable effects of school closures?

We have not identified directly applicable data, but limited evidence based on expe- riences from the SARS outbreak in Bejing in 2003 suggest that school closure had limited impact on transmission control.