Coronavirus: Children do not increase risk to adults they live with, new research shows
Scientists analysed the health records of millions of adults, comparing the COVID risks in those living with and without children.
Children do not increase the COVID risks to adults they live with - putting to rest one of the fears about keeping schools open, new research shows.
Analysis of the health records of nine million working age adults shows those living with secondary school-aged children had a small, 8% increased risk of being infected with the virus. But they were no more likely than adults without children to be admitted to hospital or die.
Adults living with primary school-aged children were not even more likely to be infected, according to researchers from OpenSAFELY who study electronic GP records in England. Professor Liam Smeeth, one of the researchers and a clinical epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: "If we can keep schools open it is a really important thing for this generation of young people. But we have to look at possible risks. The take home message is there is no evidence of harmful effect of living with kids of school age."
The researchers also looked at the health records of two million adults aged over 65 who lived in households with children. Again, there was no evidence of increased risk - whatever the age of the children. The study, which ran between March and August, has not yet been peer reviewed.
"Lots of factors go into this decision over whether schools open," said Prof Smeeth.
"But this is only one aspect that policy makers have to consider."
"Kids and teenagers may spread the virus more widely in the community, which we weren't able to study. Nor did we look at the safety of staff in school."
The researchers had initially hypothesized that adults with children may be protected to some extent because their immune systems had some memory of related coronaviruses that cause the common cold. There was no evidence that was the case.
Dr David McAllister, a public health specialist at the University of Glasgow, has studied the COVID risks in the households of healthcare workers. He said: "Sharing a household with school-aged children does not place the adults with whom they live at greater risk. "This observation has crucial implications as societies seek to minimise the harms from COVID-19, while also minimising the indirect harms caused by preventative measures, especially where these harms affect children."https://news.sky.com/story/coronavi...ey-live-with-new-research-shows-12122573