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University of Florida researchers study transmission of COVID-19 within households, children more likely to spread

University of Florida researchers study transmission of COVID-19 within households
University of Florida researchers study transmission of COVID-19 within households(WCJB)
Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 7:12 AM CST
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Several researchers at the University of Florida took part in a study based in Wuhan, China focusing on transmission of COVID-19 in households.

Dr. Yang Yang, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at UF, advised the analysis plan for the study.

He said the study’s biggest finding is that children are less likely to get infected, but once infected, they’re more likely than adults to spread it to family members. Yang said this is largely in part because of inevitable close contact within a household.

“Children tend to be in contact with parents in a closer fashion. For example, if a child is sick the parents have to take care of the sick child so close physical contact is inevitable,” said Yang.

Since COVID-19 vaccines have not been tested on children, Yang said the next step would be to prioritize vaccinating people in close contact with children like parents, caregivers and school teachers.

“Their immune systems are much less well developed so this brings up the importance of prioritizing caregivers and school teachers so this age group is not infected,” said Yang. “Infants are more susceptible than toddlers so we can’t overlook the possibility of your baby getting infected.”

While infants are more susceptible to getting the virus than older children, they are less likely to experience severe clinical outcomes compared to older adults, according to the study.

The study also found symptomatic individuals are more infectious during their incubation period, which is why regular testing is so important. Practicing good hygiene within the household is another recommended course of action to prevent transmission.

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