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Dr Joanne Paul

Children are not super-spreaders of the COVID-19 virus.

Rather the key age of those deemed to be super-spreaders was said to be around 21 years old.

Why?

According to Dr Joanne Paul, Head of the Paediatric Department at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, this is the age group where persons are out liming and socialsing in close proximity in bars and other events where the virus can be quickly and easily spread.

She said the age groups of those deemed to be super-spreaders now, are the adolescents and young adults whose ages range from 12 to 18, and 18 to 28.

Providing a medical explanation yesterday as she addressed the correlation between younger children and the COVID-19 virus, she said children may not present with a respiratory illness but with a variety of ailments that are non-specific which could include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, cold, and even a faster/slower heartbeat.

She said even though children typically spread more viruses than adults, it was because they have fewer receptors in the respiratory system, that they were spreading less than adults.

However, Paul stressed that this did not mean that children were not capable of spreading the virus.

Warning that group activities and contact sports involving children should still remain off-limits for now, Paul said, “The recommendation is no large sporting events. The recommendation is to continue as is and stay at home with your child. There are lots of creative stuff to do.”

She urged parents to plan different fun events for home which could include camping, movie nights, online games, and learning a new language.

Paul said research had found that wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining small groups was an effective way of minimising the spread of the virus.

Even though medical experts initially believed children were not as affected by the COVID-19 virus, they have since diagnosed Multi-symptom Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MISC) which is an immune response to the virus.

Paul said the signs of MISC could include headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pains, rashes on the tips of the hands or soles of feet, red eyes, red tongue, red lips, the heart beating faster or slower than usual, and a feeling of lethargy.

She said in order to protect children, it was necessary to maintain that social distance.

Paul said in order to prevent any sudden spikes in the transmission of the virus, large group activities particularly sporting events among children were not advisable at this time.