Study Finds Babies & Toddlers Spread COVID More Easily Than Teens

by Erica Gerald Mason

A new study has found that babies and toddlers are more likely to spread the virus to other people in their household than teens

After seeing progress in the spring with the rate of COVID vaccinations rising, that rate has plateaued as the number of new infections has taken a turn for the worse. As the Delta variant has zoomed through the country, some Americans believe that babies and toddlers are less likely to bring the coronavirus into their homes than teenagers. While that is true, the New York Times reports that a Canadian study has discovered once babies and toddlers are infected, they are more likely to spread the virus to household members.

Researchers identified all positive test results associated with households, and then identified the first person in each household who developed symptoms of Covid-19 or tested positive for the virus.

This is compounded by the fact young children don’t usually wear masks.

The research focused on households with the first person to catch the virus being under the age of 18. The second step was to look for secondary cases, in other words, those family members in the same house who had also fallen ill within two weeks after the first one.

One person recounted her experience on Twitter.

During the early stages of the pandemic, scientists suggested that young children, in particular, were rarely infected or transmitted the virus. However, some scientists question that hypothesis, mainly because most children had very limited social interactions during the early days of the pandemic.

“I think they were biased by the fact that children were sequestered at home,” Dr. Tina V. Hartert, a respiratory epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University told the Times. “They were recommended not even to play with neighbors, they didn’t go to school, they didn’t go to day care.”

This can be partially explained by the fact that very young children require a great deal of hands-on care and cannot be left alone by themselves when they get sick, according to the Times. One Twitter user’s experience with COVID mirror the Times’ theory.

“This study showed that even the youngest of children readily transmit the virus,” Zoe Hyde, an epidemiologist at the University of Western Australia told the Times. The doctor continued: “The key takeaway for me is that it clearly shows that there’s transmission from children occurring in the household. This means we urgently need to think about how we’re going to protect schools when they reopen shortly.”