Up to 70% of coronavirus-infected school children do not know they have it until there is a positive test result.
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Asymptomatic events are a major factor in Covid-19’s spread in classrooms.
Most researchers report that on the day of study, between 30% and 40% of adults have no covid symptoms, even though they have been infected. In infants, however, the number is higher: “In secondary school, it’s probably closer to 50 percent , while in boys and girls in elementary school, about 70 percent show no symptoms even though they have contracted the virus,” says Professor Michael Hibberd of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – a significant proportion of population-based symptomless carriers. What is not yet understood is how much infection from this cohort of young carriers free of symptoms is passed on.
Unfortunately, a definitive answer to the question of how contagious young people are remains out of reach, although there is evidence that individuals who do not exhibit covid-19 symptoms have a lower viral load, which indicates that they are less likely to infect others. This pattern correlates with age, so younger children have a lower viral load.
As a consequence, signs are less likely to show – and less likely to pass on the infection. Hibberd says, “It’s a real possibility, but we can’t be sure yet,” One solution to the issue is to increase school testing. This will entail the widespread use of rapid tests, in particular the lateral-flow process, which is simple to administer and gives less than half an hour of results.
However, it is less reliable than the traditional PCR staging test and there have been concerns that the latest, more contagious strain of coronavirus could be further propagated by high levels of false-negative results. However, the researchers point out that in identifying people with high viral loads, rapid tests are better than those with low ones. We know that a high viral load is a key factor in the transmission of the virus. Thus, even though we do not detect every vector, we are most likely to detect the children who are more likely to transmit,”We know that a high viral load is a key factor in the transmission of the virus. So even if we can’t detect every carrier, we’re most likely to detect the children who are more likely to transmit,”We are most likely to detect the children who are more likely to transmit. “And frequent testing with other technologies – such as isothermal amplification (lamp) testing – could further reduce the rate of false-negative results. But we need to be sure we have a competent testing system in schools before we can be sure of that.”