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CV Hobbs, LM Martin, SS Kim, BM Kirmse, L Haynie, S McGraw, P Byers, KG Taylor, MM Patel and B Flannery
As of December 14, 2020, children and adolescents aged <18 years have accounted for 10.2% of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases reported in the United States.* Mitigation strategies to prevent infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, among persons of all ages, are important for pandemic control. Characterization of risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among children and adolescents can inform efforts by parents, school and program administrators, and public health officials to reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission. To assess school, community, and close contact exposures associated with pediatric COVID-19, a case-control study was conducted to compare exposures reported by parents or guardians of children and adolescents aged <18 years with SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing (case-patients) with exposures reported among those who received negative SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR test results (control participants). Among 397 children and adolescents investigated, in-person school or child care attendance ≤14 days before the SARS-CoV-2 test was reported for 62% of case-patients and 68% of control participants and was not associated with a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 0.8, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.5-1.3). Among 236 children aged ≥2 years who attended child care or school during the 2 weeks before SARS-CoV-2 testing, parents of 64% of case-patients and 76% of control participants reported that their child and all staff members wore masks inside the facility (aOR = 0.4, 95% CI = 0.2-0.8). In the 2 weeks preceding SARS-CoV-2 testing, case-patients were more likely to have had close contact with a person with known COVID-19 (aOR = 3.2, 95% CI = 2.0-5.0), have attended gatherings† with persons outside their household, including social functions (aOR = 2.4, 95% CI = 1.1-5.5) or activities with other children (aOR = 3.3, 95% CI = 1.3-8.4), or have had visitors in the home (aOR = 1.9, 95% CI = 1.2-2.9) than were control participants. Close contacts with persons with COVID-19 and gatherings contribute to SARS-CoV-2 infections in children and adolescents. Consistent use of masks, social distancing, isolation of infected persons, and quarantine of those who are exposed to the virus continue to be important to prevent COVID-19 spread.
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* Data courtesy of