Under-20s are HALF as likely to catch coronavirus as those over 20, study reveals

PEOPLE under the age of 20 are half as likely to catch Covid-19 as those over the age of 20, new research has found.

Experts have said the new development could determine the impact of social distancing interventions as well as building a more accurate picture of case numbers worldwide.

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Researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine developed an age-based transmission model.

They used data from China, Italy, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Singapore.

Across the six different countries they found that people under the age of 20 are about half as susceptible to infection than people older than them.

For young people aged between 10 and 19, only 21 per cent of those infected experience clinical symptoms.



For adults 70 and over, 69 per cent experience clinical symptoms, the study published in Nature Medicine found.

Researchers Rosalind Eggo and Nicholas Davies also compared an outbreak of Covid with an outbreak of influenza.

This was in order to project the impact of school closures.

The debate around school closures in the UK has continued after some children returned to school at the start of the month.

Many families remain apprehensive when it comes to sending their kids back to classrooms but the new research found that school closures may be less effective against Covid than the flu.

This is due to the fact that children play a smaller role when it comes to transmission.

They did highlight however that this does not mean that school closures are ineffective.

The authors write: "These results have implications for the likely effectiveness of school closures in mitigating Sars-CoV-2 transmission, in that these might be less effective than for other respiratory infections.

Effective measures

"There are also implications for the global expected burden of clinical cases – countries with a large number of children might need to account for decreased susceptibility and severity in burden projections."

During their research they also simulated Covid epidemics in 146 capital cities across the world.

They found that the total expected number of clinical cases in an unmitigated epidemic varied among cities depending on the median age of the population.

This is while they also discovered that there were more clinical cases per capita projected in cities with older populations, and more asymptomatic infections – or infections with mild symptoms – in cities with younger populations.

Despite this the reproduction number (R rate) did not significantly differ by median age.

The R rate reflects the average number of cases an infected person is likely to cause while they are infected.

In other words it reflects how easy they can pass the virus to other people.

The researchers added: "In countries with younger population structures – such as many low-income countries – the expected per capita incidence of clinical cases would be lower than in countries with older population structures, although it is likely that comorbidities in low-income countries will also influence disease severity.

"Without effective control measures, regions with relatively older populations could see disproportionally more cases of Covid-19, particularly in the later stages of an unmitigated epidemic."


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