Maria van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s technical lead for coronavirus response, emphasized during a briefing Monday that the understanding of coronavirus transmission in children is still limited.
“Children do seem to be less affected, but they can be infected. And that is important,” said van Kerkhove. “Our understanding of transmission in children is still limited.”
The virus is less prevalent among young children, van Kerkhove said, while children about 10 and older appear to have about the same prevalence as young adults.
However, she pointed out that children can have severe disease, and children have died from Covid-19.
“They can be infected, which we’ve said from the beginning, but they do tend to have more mild disease,” she said. “In terms of transmission, there’s quite a lot that we still need to understand about transmission in children.”
In relation to schools reopening, van Kerkhove said that WHO has issued guidance on the safe running of schools and also on considerations of when schools should reopen and that there are a number of considerations that need to take place.
These include transmission in the local area and the ability of the school structure to be able to implement measures like social distancing and hand washing.
Van Kerkhove said they have heard of some outbreaks in schools, mainly among older children.