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The role of children in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), 1st update

Published

The findings in this memo are based on rapid searches. One researcher has screened all records from the search, selected and summarised the study findings. We opted for this rapid approach despite an inherent risk of overlooking key evidence or making misguided judgements, due to the urgency of identifying research findings relevant to the following questions.

Forside omslag children transmission 1st update covid-19_ENG.jpg

The findings in this memo are based on rapid searches. One researcher has screened all records from the search, selected and summarised the study findings. We opted for this rapid approach despite an inherent risk of overlooking key evidence or making misguided judgements, due to the urgency of identifying research findings relevant to the following questions.


Key message

The findings in this memo are based on rapid searches. One researcher has screened all records from the search, selected and summarised the study findings. We opted for this rapid approach despite an inherent risk of overlooking key evidence or making misguided judgements, due to the urgency of identifying research findings relevant to the following questions.

Are children infected with SARS-CoV-2?

The SARS-CoV-2 has been detected in many children. There is no doubt that also children are infected, but children seem less prone to infection than adults.

Do children with COVID-19 become sick?

Children may fall ill from the virus, and typically display symptoms such as fever and airway symptoms. Available data strongly suggest that children with COVID-19 experience milder symptoms than adults, but evidence regarding children in different age groups is more uncertain. Critical illness and deaths are rarely observed among children.

Can children transmit the virus, and if so, to whom?

Current evidence suggest that children can transmit SARS-CoV-2, but there is no evidence that children are key drivers of transmission. Evidence is sparse, and it is too early to conclude firmly about the role children play in transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

What are the measurable effects of school closures?

We have not identified directly applicable data, but limited evidence based on experiences from the SARS outbreak in Beijing in 2003 suggest that school closure had limited impact on transmission control.

Downloadable as PDF. In English. Norwegian summary.

About this publication

  • Year: 2020
  • By: Folkehelseinstituttet
  • Authors Brurberg KG.
  • ISBN: 978-82-8406-089-7