WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A new study suggests that those younger than 20 may be around half less likely to get COVID-19 as those aged 20 and above.
- This could mean that school closures, applied in many countries during lockdown, are less likely to have an impact on the spread of the virus.
- Researchers also suggest that countries with “more young people” may not be as hard-hit by COVID-19.
On Tuesday, research was published in the journal Nature Medicine that people younger than 20 are about half as susceptible to contracting COVID-19 as compared to those aged 20 and above.
The modeling study used data from 32 different locations in six countries- China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Italy, and Canada, as well as six different studies on estimated COVID-19 infection rates and severity of symptoms among different age groups.
Results showed that people under the age of 20 are about half as likely to get COVID-19 as those above 20. The model also showed that clinical symptoms of COVID-19 appear in 21% of those infected aged 10 to19 and 69% of those infected aged 70 and above.
These findings suggest that the school closures, applied in many countries as an anti-coronavirus infection measure, will probably have a limited impact on the transmission of the virus.
Researchers also compared the effect of school closures on simulated flu outbreaks (known to spread quickly in children) and outbreaks of COVID-19.
Rosalind Eggo, an infectious disease modeler at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-leader of the study said that COVID-19 was less affected by school closures.
However, Eggo added that the findings were based on simulated outbreaks and need real-world research to reinforce the data.
COVID-19 epidemics were also simulated in 146 capital cities across the globe.
Nicholas Davies, who co-led the work, said, “The age structure of a population can have a significant impact. Countries with more young people may experience a lower burden of COVID-19.”