A new study coming out of the University of Alberta shows that nearly one-third of the children who contract COVID-19 show no symptoms, which leads many medical professionals to believe that there could be far more infected children than they had previously thought.
The researchers who worked on the study emphasized how important the data is, noting that there is probably a lot more coronavirus in the local community, as many kids are not developing the most common signs of the illness, such as cough, runny nose, and sore throat.
“When we see reports of 1,200 new cases per day in the province of Alberta, that’s likely to be the tip of the iceberg — there are likely many people who don’t know they have the disease and are potentially spreading it,” said Dr. Finlay McAlister, an internist at the University of Alberta Hospital, according to Science Magazine.
McAlister and his team studied the results of 2,463 youngsters who were tested for COVID-19 during the first wave of the pandemic. They found that 1,987 children had a positive result but that 35.9% were asymptomatic.
“It speaks to all the school safety programs,” the expert said. “We can do all the COVID-19 questionnaires we want, but if one-third of the kids are asymptomatic, the answer is going to be no to all of the questions — yet they’re still infected.”
In other words, a lot of evidence is beginning to pop up that indicates children could actually be acting as silent spreaders of the illness.
New evidence that was recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics has discovered that some kids have very high levels of the virus in their airways, even if they are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. The levels seemingly peak during the first three days of the infection, which could lead to the spread of the illness through the community, especially with schools being opened.
“Some people thought that children may be protected,” Dr. Alessio Fasano, the author of the study, told the Washington Post. “This is incorrect. They may be as susceptible as adults — but just not visible.”