While everyone, regardless of age, can spread COVID-19, over the last several months it has become clear that specific age groups are transmitting the virus at higher rates than others. And, according to one large new study, young adults are the primary source of coronavirus spread, however, younger children can spread the virus amongst each other easily and quickly as well. Read on, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had Coronavirus.
Children and Young Adults Are the Primary Spreaders—and Are Likely to Spread to Others Their Same Age
The extremely large contact tracing study published this week in Science involved over 3 million people in India and was led by Ramanan Laxminarayan of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in New Delhi, and also of Princeton University. Researchers identified and tested 575,000 people exposed to nearly 85,000 confirmed coronavirus cases from March until August, making it the largest contact tracing study in the world, per Laxminarayan.
Not only are children and young adults spreading the virus at an alarming rate, but they are also more likely to spread it to people in their age group, claims the study.
“While the role of children in transmission has been debated, we identify high prevalence of infection among children who were contacts of cases around their own age; this finding of enhanced infection risk among individuals exposed to similar-age cases was also apparent among adults,” the study reads.
According to the findings, the people most likely to spread to their peers were under the age of 14.
This, despite the fact that schools closed in the country in March.
“School closures and other non-pharmaceutical interventions during the study period may have contributed to reductions in contact among children. Nonetheless, our analyses suggest social interactions among children may be conducive to transmission in this setting.”
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Superspreaders are Propagating the Virus
Interestingly, it also found that the overwhelming majority of infected people—70 percent—didn’t infect anyone else. Instead, 8 percent of patients were responsible for 60 percent of all new infections.
Researchers also identify that the first patient in a chain of transmission, were usually adults between the ages of 20 to 45.
One thing to keep in mind is that the study was conducted in India, a country with an economy and demographics drastically different than the United States. As for yourself, no matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear a face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.