Mass. General researchers find children may play larger role in spreading coronavirus

BOSTON (WHDH) - Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital have found that children could play a larger role in spreading the coronavirus than previously thought.

The study “Pediatric SARS-CoV-2: Clinical Presentation, Infectivity, and Immune Responses” published Wednesday in “The Journal of Pediatrics” found that children can carry a high viral load in their airways and show no symptoms.

Virus levels that would land adults in the intensive care unit would leave a child seemingly healthy, researchers said. They added that children are more contagious than adults.

“Children are less likely to become seriously ill…however, asymptomatic carriers, including children, can spread infection and carry the virus into their household,” researchers wrote.

The study examined 192 children and young adults under the age of 22, finding that 26 percent had an acute COVID-19 infection and 51 percent of them developed a fever.

These findings come as some school districts in the Bay State prepare to welcome back students into the classroom.

Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday that 371 of the 400 districts had submitted their reopening plans as of Monday, and 70 percent involved either a full return to in-person classes or a hybrid of remote and in-person learning. He added that 30 percent were pursuing a fully remote model.

Dozens of Massachusetts teachers who feel it’s unsafe to return to the classroom amid the ongoing pandemic rallied at the State House Wednesday in support of beginning the new school year with fully-remote learning.

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