Children play a larger role in the community spread of COVID-19 than previously thought, according to a study which found that the younger people may not be as likely to become seriously ill as adults, but they can spread infection and bring the virus into their homes.
Yonker said, "I was surprised by the high levels of virus we found in children of all ages, especially in the first two days of infection".
The research suggests that children can carry a high viral load, meaning they can be very contagious, regardless of their susceptibility to developing a COVID-19 illness.
Children infected with SARS-CoV-2 tend to have milder symptoms with significantly lower mortality than in adults.
Dr Fasano said: "This is a severe complication as a result of the immune response to Covid-19 infection, and the number of these patients is growing".
"And that is also what we were anxious about in Covid-19, whereas people get more severe disease, the inflammation in their lungs can overwhelm the system, and potentially cause really severe issues", she stated.
In the past three months, the proportion of people under 30 confirmed to have been infected has almost doubled, going from 13.6 per cent of the total number of Quebecers infected in mid-May to 22.9 per cent today, according to data from Quebec's public health research institute, the INSPQ.
In another breakthrough, the researchers challenged the notion that because children have fewer immune receptors for the coronavirus, they are less likely to become infected or seriously ill.
As well as viral load, researchers examined expression of the viral receptor and antibody response in healthy children, children with acute Sars-CoV-2 infection and a smaller number of children with Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C).
However, other medical groups show differing information over children's potential to spread the virus.
Children may not experience severe COVID-19 cases as often as adults. Shortly before that, investigators in South Korea found in a household study that older children passed on the virus as readily as adults, while younger children did not. They agree that the most critical question is what steps the schools will implement "to keep the kids, teachers, and personnel safe". Time has confirmed that most children appear to have mild disease or no symptoms, but why that is remains a mystery.
"This study provides much-needed facts for policymakers to make the best decisions possible for schools, daycare centers and other institutions that serve children", Fasano said. It's a tough situation, but they believe mandatory social distancing, universal use of face masks, routine hand-washing tutorials, and the incorporation of remote learning whenever possible, can all go a long way toward mitigating the coronavirus risk in schools across the country.
Professor Fasano fears a hurried return to school without proper planning could result in an uptick in cases of Covid-19 infections. They further recommended that schools should not be opened without necessary precautions or else it would spread the disease on a massive scale as children are not immune to this disease.
With schools in several states reopening, health experts have expressed concern about the possibility of the presence of coronavirus "silent spreaders" among the kids. The mean age of the children was 10.2 years.
The study included 30 co-authors from the two hospitals, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.