Children "rarely spread" coronavirus, insists SAGE committee member

24 August 2020, 18:29

By Seán Hickey

A health expert asserted that schools are safe for children to return to by revealing that coronavirus is "less of a problem for children."

Eddie Mair wanted to know if primary age children are "safer than secondary age children when it comes to Covid." Professor Calum Semple told him that "children very rarely spread it to each other and relatively rarely spread it to adults as well."

The Professor of Child Health and Outbreak Medicine at the University of Liverpool added that "kids aren't getting so sick," from coronavirus which means they are less likely to spread the virus through coughing or sneezing.

The SAGE member concluded that "you're more likely to catch it in the nurses office...rather than catching it from children."

Professor Semple accepted that "there's a gradual increase in disease severity as age gets on," but "we're not seeing lots of secondary age kids getting sick with this," in comparison to primary school children.

Debate has raged over whether or not it is safe to reopen schools
Debate has raged over whether or not it is safe to reopen schools. Picture: PA

Eddie argued that the reason students have not been seriously hit by the virus is "because they're not at school." Professor Semple noted that "we've still seen them catching it in the community," and that the bottom line is that young people haven't been hit badly by the virus.

"They're certainly not spreading it as much as they're catching it from adults," he summarised.

The SAGE member backed up the idea that children should return to school, warning Eddie that "kids are at risk of harm by not going to school."

Professor Semple was speaking to Eddie Mair in a personal capacity.

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