Children and adolescents are less vulnerable to coronavirus infection but are more infectious than older individuals, according to a report published in the popular medical journal The Lancet this week. "Children and adolescents were less susceptible to infection but more infectious once infected, than individuals aged 20 years or older," the study said.
Besides, a team of Chinese and American researchers claimed that asymptomatic cases are also less infectious than symptomatic COVID-19 patients.
"Individuals aged 60 years or older were at a higher risk of infection with SARS-CoV-2 than all other age groups. Infants aged 0-1 year were significantly more likely to be infected than children aged 2-5 years, and children aged 6-12 years. Children and adolescents younger than 20 years of age were more likely to infect others than were adults aged 60 years or older. Asymptomatic individuals were much less likely to infect others than were symptomatic cases. Symptomatic cases were more likely to infect others before symptom onset than after," according to the finding of the study quoted by The Lancet.
The high infectivity of children with SARS-CoV-2 infection highlights the need for careful planning of school reopening, the researchers suggested.
The latest Lancet study was conducted by studying 20,000 families from Wuhan. The study included the households of all lab-confirmed or clinically confirmed COVID-19 cases and lab-confirmed asymptomatic coronavirus infections identified by the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control and Prevention between December 2, 2019, and April 18, 2020.
Wuhan was the first epicentre of COVID-19, accounting for 80 per cent of cases in China during the first wave.
The study was aimed at understanding the household transmissibility of coronavirus and risk factors associated with infectivity and susceptibility to infection in Wuhan.