Coronavirus Chronicles — Children and COVID-19 Transmission

Remember the innocent days when it appeared that children did not catch or transmit the new coronavirus? With a sigh, just let those memories go. As it turns out, the young’uns can be wicked infectious. According to a study published in the journal Lancet Infectious Diseases, children are much more likely than, for instance, adults over 60, to infect additional family members.

Also, babies less than a year old are more likely to catch it than are kids between two and five years of age. The report says, “This may be due to a combination of their still-developing immune systems and their close contact with adults.”

The American Association of Pediatrics says,

[…] because viral loads may be similar in symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of COVID-19, including children, there may be a high risk for transmission to other children and adults through asymptomatic children in settings serving large numbers of children, such as child care and schools.

The AAP also says, in a report published this month, that COVID-19 outcomes in American childcare providers whose establishments stayed open during the first three months of pandemic awareness were compared with the fates of childcare providers who closed their facilities. Surprisingly, in the light of present knowledge, it appears that continuing to provide care during that first quarter “was not associated with an elevated risk for COVID-19 transmission to providers.”

Of course, that study only looked at childcare providers, not kids, but by the summer of 2020, the virus flourished in daycare facilities in Texas and other places, so somebody was obviously passing it along to somebody.

In October, The New York Times reported,

As the coronavirus soars across the country, charting a single-day record of 99,155 new cases on Friday and surpassing nine million cases nationwide, tracing the path of the pandemic in the United States is no longer simply challenging. It has become nearly impossible.

“It’s just kind of everywhere,” said Crystal Watson, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, who estimated that tracing coronavirus cases becomes difficult once the virus spreads to more than 10 cases per 100,000 people.

It is important to remember that universal testing is not the norm. Many children do not get visibly sick from the virus. They remain asymptomatic. With testing limited and unreliable, millions of children who don’t appear sick have not been tested, and many who are sick have not been tested. There is no way of knowing how many people, children and adults, have spread COVID-19 without ever being aware that they had it. But asymptomatic victims are still able to transmit the virus, and that is a fact it does not pay to forget.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Kids Highly Likely to Transmit Coronavirus to Others: Study,”, 01/21/21
Source: “COVID-19 Transmission in US Child Care Programs,”, January 2021
Source: “How Are Americans Catching the Virus? Increasingly, ‘They Have No Idea’,”, 10/31/20
Image by Ivan Radic/CC BY 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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