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No evidence of secondary transmission of COVID-19 from children attending school in Ireland, 2020

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Heavy, L., Casey, G., Kelly, C., Kelly, D., & McDarby, G.
Publication Date: 
1 May 2020

Excerpted from introduction

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was declared a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Many countries followed the precautionary principle and, to limit the spread of the virus, imposed restrictions on citizens, such as promoting physical distancing, limiting the movement of people, closing educational institutions and/or workplaces. Now countries, while continuing to control the spread of the virus, must plan how to lift some of these restrictions to allow people to resume activities of daily life.

Children are thought to be vectors for transmission of many respiratory diseases including influenza. It was assumed that this would be true for COVID-19 also. To date however, evidence of widespread paediatric transmission has failed to emerge. School closures create childcare issues for parents. This has an impact on the workforce, including the healthcare workforce. There are also concerns about the impact of school closures on children’s mental and physical health.

We aimed to examine the evidence of paediatric transmission in the Republic of Ireland in the school setting.