Parents may feel conflicted about making their children wear a mask. They’re uncomfortable, it scares them, it’s uncool, and kids are just plain rebellious. But a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics highlights that it’s essential not only for their protection as they start mingling more with peers, but your protection as well. The essential conclusion of the study is that some children carry very high viral loads—in fact, the study reports, “viral load in children in the asymptomatic/early infection phase was significantly higher than in hospitalized patients with severe disease with over 7 days of symptoms.” This information flies in the face of the belief (still held and espoused by some who claim there is no risk in opening schools fully on site) that children are somehow not likely to transmit the virus to other children or adults. The study was conducted in 192 pediatric patients (22 years of age or younger) presenting to Massachusetts General Hospital Respiratory Infection Control clinics for evaluation of symptoms concerning for COVID-19 or admitted for acute symptoms related to COVID-19 or MIS-C. The bottom line: While there is evidence that children are less likely to become severely ill than adults, their capacity to transmit the disease may actually be much greater.

Kids May Be Far More Capable Than Adults of Spreading COVID-19; Update Policies Accordingly