There are always discussions about how much children are involved in the spread of SARS-Cov-2. It is often assumed that the situation is similar to that of the flu, which children get seriously ill and can thus become quite infectious. But that’s not the case. Children are neither badly affected nor do they spread the virus on a large scale.
There are four main areas that you should know about:
- Cross immunity due to previous corona infections
- Hardly any disease from SARS-Cov-2
- Infectiousness in infections without symptoms
- Children in the household as protection for adults
Coronavirus cross immunity
Coronaviruses mutate much more slowly than flu viruses. The segments are more firmly coupled to one another and cannot be exchanged. This is why the cornaviruses are similar and the defense mechanisms of the immune system – antibodies, B and T cells – recognize coronaviruses more easily. This has now been proven in a number of studies.
In children who are more frequently confronted with the corona cold viruses, it appears that they even develop quite permanent antibodies that are also effective against the SARS virus. Previous studies have T cell immunity proven, as well as SARS-Cov-2 neutralizing antibodies found in 62 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 16 years. For adults, however, the proportion was only 6 to 10 percent.
Hardly any diseases from SARS-Cov-2
The new coronavirus has a different mortality distribution than flu. If children are also affected by the flu, the mortality with Covid-19 corresponds to the normal age distribution. That means over 70-year-olds are 1000 times more affected than younger age groups, children and adolescents hardly at all.
There are also hardly any diseases, which is also, but not only, ascribed to protection from infections with the other coronaviruses. Confirm it too Pediatricians and children’s hospitalsthat very few test positive for the SARS virus.
Infectiousness in infections without symptoms
The shutdown of normal cell function by the viruses leads to the death of the cells, to the dissolution of the cell membrane and the other parts. The T and killer cells eliminate such affected cells. If they can cope with the viruses, the course of the disease is mild to moderate. In any case, one notices symptoms such as a scratchy throat, loss of taste and smell to fever, body aches and the like.
Symptoms are always a result of the struggle between the immune system and the multiplication of viruses. The more viruses arise, the fiercer the fight and the more severe the symptoms. Conversely, if there are only mild symptoms or no symptoms, there are also relatively few viruses.
If you have only a few viruses in you, you can only pass a little of it on to the environment and other people. Someone who is infected but has no symptoms is therefore not or only slightly contagious. This is particularly the case with children who, in contrast to influenza, cannot or only very easily develop SARS-Cov-2.
If an asymptomatic person is contagious, they will only give a small dose to others. This is exactly the prerequisite for a further asymptomatic course. A chain of infection can arise, but thanks to the low dose in each case, it does not lead to diseases. However, immunity does arise, at least the more important one, because it lasts for a long time, on a cellular basis through B and T cells.
Children in the household as protection for adults
A study among employees of the Scottish National Health Service (NHS) has shown that the number of PCR-confirmed infections and the severity of any illnesses in families with children were significantly lower than in child-free households. The more children, the fewer. The study included more than 300,000 adults.
An even larger study of over 9 million people in England came to a similar conclusion. In adults up to 65 years of age, living with children aged 0-11 years did not lead to an increased risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection or hospital or intensive care unit admission due to COVID-19. The risk of COVID-19 death was significantly lower.
Living with children of all ages was also associated with a lower risk of dying from causes unrelated to COVID-19. In 2.5 million adults over 65 years of age, there was no association between household children and SARS-CoV-2-related outcomes. There were no changes in risk after the schools closed.
So the studies in Great Britain show that children do not endanger adults, on the contrary, there can even be a protective effect.
Masks in children are therefore superfluous. On the contrary, they even cause damage to development, as specialist Bodo Kuklinksi explains in an interview.