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Thursday, November 26, 2020

CDC Ponders Shorter Quarantines for Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is evaluating evidence that could shorten the usual 14-day COVID-19 quarantine for children so that they can return to school faster. Experts are looking into options such as paring down the time children need to isolate after they test negative so they will not suffer a lengthy disruption from their classrooms.

“We are actively working on pursuing data that can help inform that definition and guidance,” said a CDC spokesperson, according to The Wall Street Journal. While parents said they would welcome a change in the current two-week guidelines, the CDC said it was carefully examining all evidence to ensure that children were not infectious if quarantine times were altered.

A Yale University study published in the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children in day care programs don’t spread the virus as long as the facilities follow precautionary guidelines such as wearing masks, staying in small groups, and washing hands frequently. A recent survey found that school-aged children from 12 to 17 years, had a higher incidence of COVID-19 than those aged 5-11, according to the Journal.

However, earlier studies revealed a growing body of evidence that children may be acting as silent spreaders of COVID-19. Research published in The Journal of Pediatrics found that some children have high levels of the virus in their airways even if they are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms. These levels appear to peak during the first three days of infection and can be instrumental in spreading disease through the community, especially in classrooms.

“Some people thought that children may be protected,” said study author Dr. Alessio Fasano, of MassGeneral Hospital for Children, according to The Washington Post. “This is incorrect. They may be as susceptible as adults — but just not visible.”

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