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Health experts: children primary driver of COVID transmission

Posted at 6:50 PM, Oct 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 19:50:22-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — According to a news release from Nebraska Medicine and UNMC, a six-year-old has died from COVID-19 in Douglas County. This child had other chronic conditions.

About 13 percent of the cases of COVID-19 in Douglas County are in children.

Kids may be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.

“Sneezing, coughing, sore throat, itchy nose...very mild things you wouldn’t probably think twice about at any other time but now we have to think about COVID,” said Anne O'Keefe, Senior Epidemiologist at the Douglas County Health Department.

Even mild symptoms, O'Keefe said, are not something to brush off.

“Kids can transmit to other people that aren’t at lower risk very easily,” she said. “You know, you’ve got your family members, neighbors that can have a higher risk of disease and children can spread the disease to them.”

UNMC echoed that in a written statement:

"Larger recent studies point to children as important sources of transmission to other children and adults in the community. In fact, adolescents and younger children may pose the highest risk for community transmission, as infection likely is not symptomatic and often missed."

UNMC points to data showing young people are a primary driver of transmission in our community outbreaks.

“Early limited data suggested that school-aged children were not easily infected and were not important spreaders, but more recent information points to the fact that children get infected at similar rates as adults… adolescents and younger children may pose the highest risk for community transmission, as infection likely is not symptomatic and often missed,” UNMC writes.