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Young children can spread COVID-19 to adults without showing symptoms of the virus themselves, new CDC analysis of daycare centers confirms.

To better understand transmission from young children, contact tracing data collected from three COVID-19 outbreaks in child care facilities in Salt Lake County, Utah, during April 1–July 10, 2020, were retrospectively reviewed to explore attack rates and transmission patterns. 

The CDC confirmed that young asymptomatic children can transmit COVID-19 to adults.

In summary:

  • The CDC observed 184 Utah students, teachers and family members over a three-month period.
  • Testing and tracing showed that 12 of the 110 students become infected with COVID-19.
  • They spread the virus to at least 12 family members outside the facilities, even if they themselves were not showing symptoms.
  • Nine showed mild symptoms, while three showed no symptoms at all.
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  • Six mothers became infected with COVID-19 - one of whom required hospitalization. 

  • At least four teachers in three states died from COVID-19 complications since the start of the school year less than two months ago.

  • Among them was South Carolina third-grade teacher Demetria Bannister, 28, who died Monday just three days after she was diagnosed with the virus.

This latest study of children in daycare facilities comes after news that, since the start of the 2020-2021 academic school year, at least four teachers in three states have died from COVID-19 complications 

The CDC recommends that public policy include testing of contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in child care settings, including children who might not have symptoms, which could improve control of transmission from child care attendees to family members.

More about the study from the CDC:

"A total of 184 persons, including 110 (60%) children had a known epidemiologic link to one of these three facilities. Among these persons, 31 confirmed COVID-19 cases occurred; 13 (42%) in children. Among pediatric patients with facility-associated confirmed COVID-19, all had mild or no symptoms. Twelve children acquired COVID-19 in child care facilities. Transmission was documented from these children to at least 12 (26%) of 46 non-facility contacts (confirmed or probable cases). One parent was hospitalized. Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19. Detailed contact tracing data show that children can play a role in transmission from child care settings to household contacts. Having SARS-CoV-2 testing available, timely results, and testing of contacts of persons with COVID-19 in child care settings regardless of symptoms can help prevent transmission. CDC guidance for child care programs recommends the use of face masks, particularly among staff members, especially when children are too young to wear masks, along with hand hygiene, frequent cleaning and disinfecting of high-touch surfaces, and staying home when ill to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission (4)."