Evidence base

Children and transmission of Covid19

UK government’s own Children’s Task and Finish Group, 17 December 2020; based on data up to the 2nd of December 2020 (and not taking into account the implications of new Kent variant), children and young people are more likely than those aged 17+ to be the first case in their household. Those aged 12 to 16 are nearly 7 times as likely to be the first case in their household compared to those 17+.

BMJ Opinion piece by UCL prof Philips and Prof Petersen and London School of Tropical Hygiene and Medicine prof. Pierce proposing that the current wave of the pandemic may be driven by asymptomatic transmission, especially in younger people, and by subsequent transmission within families.

Spiegel coverage of large Austrian study showing that children might be having a crucial role in driving the pandemic.

Princeton study of over half a million people in India, finding that children play an important role in the spread of Covid19, 30 September 2020

Media coverage of Lancet Infectious Diseases Study of 131 countries showing a 24% surge in the R following re-opening of schools; Lancet Infectious Diseases study here.

Medical Journal of Australia study, October 2020, outlining evidence that “Children may be more susceptible than originally thought and could play a role in community transmission”.

Useful reports on safety in schools

Emerging implications of new variants

Optionality of school attendance

 School’s Report from Independent Sage with comprehensive proposals for UK schools. Also see this blog on the British Medical Journal. 

US Academy of Paediatrics recommending face coverings for children from age 2, with some exceptions. “Even children as young as 2 years have demonstrated that they can be taught basic infection-control skills”.

BMJ article on calls for caution by Israeli paediatricians and Italian virologists in reopening schools due to emerging evidence about more children being infected with new variant.

New York Times article on UK scientists saying the Kent variant may lead to more hospitalisation and death. NERVTAG document is here.

Optionality of attendance for families, regardless of medical conditions has been the approach in the US. Parents are provided with guidance by the CDC on how assess their own families’ risk/benefit of school attendance versus learning at home temporarily.

Thanks to legal action taken by our partner group Parent United and the Public Interest Law Centre, the government has been forced to clarify that attendance is optional for UK families where there is a clinically or extremely clinically vulnerable member. We are however asking for this to be extended to all, on the basis that a lot of middle aged people with no pre-existing conditions have been admitted to ICU in the past few months so it is not entirely clear who is really most at risk from this virus, and there are concerns about Long Covid in children and adults (evidence to be posted here later). It is also discriminatory towards families who have clinical vulnerabilities to fail to make reasonable adjustments to make the school safer so all those who wish to attend, can.

In the Netherlands, parents have won the right to decide through successful court action against the government.