According to Forbes, new studies suggest that children could in fact be quite efficient transmitters of the coronavirus. One of these studies, done in Chicago, claim that young children contain about one hundred times the concentration and amount of coronavirus in their throats as compared to adults. Thus, they can transmit with almost deadly efficiency. What does this mean for Pakistan, whose government has given orders to open schools come August 15th?
Children themselves can exhibit mild symptoms or be asymptomatic entirely. However, the adults who will spend time with them – older children in school, teachers, janitors – will be facing huge risks. Unlike children, most adults become debilitatingly sick when infected with the virus.
What makes the situation more worrying is that recently, Pakistan has seen a drop in new cases as well as number of deaths. Sending children to school as early as mid August could potentially mean a reversal of the country’s efforts to contain the virus – at a point where the prime minister has even received international praise for these efforts. But just how ironclad a conclusion can be formed using studies conducted in Chicago and Trento, Italy – thousands of miles from Pakistan?
In fact, the accuracy of these studies has already been challenged by investigations conducted in other parts of the world. A Finnish study finds that children, upon exposure, did not readily transmit the virus to fellow students and their families. This was observed after exposure to both a 12 year old infected with the virus as well as an adult staff member.
However, it has to be noted that the coronavirus has behaved differently all over the world. Even the most well-researched and representative study can contain loopholes. This could mean, come August 15th, Pakistan could either be facing a national catastrophe or manage to coast by with nary a scratch.