260 people tested positive. Hundreds of children contracted the coronavirus at summer camp last month in the US state of Georgia, announced the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday, new evidence that children are both susceptible to catching Covid-19 and transmitting it.
The virus has infected at least 260 of the 597 participants in this summer camp, according to the American center, for which the real figure is probably even higher since the results were only available for 58% of the group. Of the 597 participants, the results of only 344 people were indeed recovered.
“Children of all ages are susceptible to infection”
On June 23, a teenage staff member left summer camp after experiencing chills the day before. He then tested positive for coronavirus. The camp began sending participants home on June 24 and closed on the 27th.
A survey was launched on June 25, and among the 260 people who tested positive, 74% had mild symptoms like fever, headache and sore throat. The others had no symptoms. All age levels have been affected by the coronavirus: 51% of 6-10 year olds, 44% of 11-17 year olds, 33% of 18-21 year olds and 29% of 22-59 year olds.
These data add to growing evidence “showing that children of all ages are susceptible to infection by Sars-CoV-2 and, contrary to initial information, could play an important role in transmission, “according to the authors of the CDC report.
The American center, however, recalls that not all participants could be tested and that it is possible that people who tested positive were not infected during the camp, but before or after.
No masks for everyone
The camp had obeyed a decree of the State of Georgia requiring all participants to present a negative test for Covid-19, carried out a maximum of 12 days before their arrival. However, the CDC’s recommendations that all participants should wear cloth masks were not followed, and only staff were asked to put them on.
Other precautionary measures included physical distancing, frequent disinfection of surfaces, and keeping children in the same small groups. The participants in this holiday camps “took part in various indoor and outdoor activities,” including singing, the report said. They slept in cabins accommodating up to 26 people.
“Relatively large cohorts sleeping in the same cabin and indulging in regular chanting and cheering likely contributed to the transmission,” writes the CDC.
A thorough investigation is underway to determine the causes of this significant spread within this group. “Physical distancing and consistent and correct use of cloth masks must be put forward as important strategies to mitigate transmission in places of assembly “, recalls the CDC in conclusion.