Covid-19: people living with children are more exposed to contamination

A study by the Institut Pasteur estimates the additional risk of contracting Covid-19 at 30% when a household has a college student. A number that increases the younger the children.

At the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, epidemiologists agreed that children were much less likely to develop and transmit the disease. Almost two years after the start of the epidemic, the cards seem to have been completely reshuffled, as confirmed by a new study by the Institut Pasteur unveiled this Friday, and published in The Lancet Regional Health Europe.

Thus, if a household has at least one secondary school student, the probability for parents of catching Covid-19 increases by 30%, more if they are children in primary school, reveals this survey conducted among adults. over 40 years old.

Significant contamination of the youngest

This dynamic is all the more worrying as the epidemic progresses among children. Within a week, the incidence rate of 6-10 year olds increased 2.5 times to 340 cases per 100,000 population on November 24, when the national average for adults stood at to 191.

“With the Delta variant, twice as contagious as the 2020 virus, children lose this benefit”, comments to the Parisian Arnaud Fontanet, epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur.

School outbreak

Faced with this epidemic resumption among the youngest, 8,890 classes were closed this Friday, according to figures transmitted by Jean-Michel Blanquer, Minister of National Education. According to the current protocol, a primary or kindergarten class must obligatorily close its doors as soon as a positive case is discovered within it.

A rule called to evolve next week, as part of the new measures to fight against the virus unveiled Thursday. From now on, when a positive case is discovered in the first degree, all the children in the class will be tested, and only those who can present a negative test can immediately return to the class. Approaching the rules currently in force in middle and high schools.

Childhood vaccination

These new results on the contagiousness of children revive the debate on their vaccination. Currently, in France, you can be vaccinated from 12 years old. On Thursday, the European Medicines Agency gave the green light to administer the Pfizer vaccine in 5-11 year olds.

Thursday, Olivier Véran said that France was considering opening vaccination to the youngest, and that the National Council of Ethics would be seized on this point. But if it were to be authorized, it would not be before “early 2022”.

As Arnaud Fontanet confides, always at Parisian, if the vaccination of the youngest proves to be without risk, it presents a clear benefit. “There is of course a collective benefit to reducing the dynamics of the epidemic and, for the little ones, it is the best guarantee of following a normal schooling.” In the meantime, it is important to “ventilate well and carry out systematic tests at school”, for her part, underlines from our colleagues Fabienne El-Khoury, doctor in public health.

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