Hundreds of children contracted coronovirus last month at a summer camp in the US state of Georgia, with health officials adding a growing body of evidence on Friday that minors are susceptible to vectors of infection and transmission.
The virus infected at least 260 of 597 attendees, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, adding that the number was likely higher because test results were available for only 58 percent of the group.
The camp ignored the CDC’s advice that all participants in the summer camp wear cloth masks – only they are needed by staff.
It did however follow a state executive order, requiring all participants to show evidence of a negative COVID-19 test, taken 12 days before or less than their arrival.
Other precautionary measures include physical disturbances, repeated disinfection of surfaces, placing children among the same small group, also known as “cohabitation”, and increasing the use of communal spaces.
An orientation was held at the camp from June 17 to June 20 for 138 trainees and 120 staff members – most of whom were themselves under 21 years of age.
The staff remained in place when the camp officially opened on 21 June and included 363 campers, ranging in age from six to 19, along with three more senior staff members.
The report noted that camp attendees “are engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including loud singing and cheering daily.” They slept in up to 26 people.
On June 23, a teenage staff member walked out of the camp the previous evening after freezing. On 24 June, a staff member was tested for the novel coronavirus – SARS-CoV-2 and got positive results on the same day.
The camp began sending the camper home that day and closed the camp on 27 June.
A health checkup that began on June 25 found that 344 out of 260 people were for whom the test results were positive.
Of them, 74 percent had mild symptoms including fever, headache and sore throat while the rest had no symptoms.
“These findings suggest that SARS-CoV-2 spreads efficiently in a youth-focused overnight setting, resulting in higher invasion rates in individuals of all ages,” the authors of the CDC report wrote.
The attack rate is the total number of new cases divided by those at high risk.
The authors stated that the findings contribute to a body of evidence “indicating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, contrary to early reports, may play an important role in transmission.”
© 2020 AFP
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