ATLANTA (CBS46) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that children of all ages are susceptible to COVID-19 infection and, “contrary to early reporters, might play an important role in transmission.”
The new findings came in a study that looked at COVID-19 infection among child attendees at an overnight camp in Georgia. According to the study, released early from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, test results were available for 58 percent of attendees and researchers found 76 percent of those tested were positive.
Overall, the study found the attack rate of COVID-19 was 51 percent among those aged 6-10 years old, 44 percent among those aged 11-17 years old and 33 percent among those aged 18-21 years old. The CDC said the attack rates increased with “increasing length of time spent at camp, with staff members having the highest attack rate (56%).
“These findings demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all groups, despite efforts by camp officials to implement most recommended strategies to prevent transmission,” the authors of the study wrote.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a separate statement from the study that read:
The camp adopted some mitigation steps found in CDC Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps to minimize the risk for SARS-CoV-2 introduction and transmission to include cohorting of attendees by cabin and enhanced cleaning and disinfection. However, the camp did not require the 600 campers to wear masks, only the staff. Additionally, camp attendees engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that included daily vigorous singing and cheering, which might have contributed to transmission.
Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity. Correct and consistent use of cloth masks, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and frequent hand washing strategies, which are recommended in CDC’s recently released guidance to reopen America’s schools, are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are our greatest tools to prevent COVID-19.