Coronavirus: Children's risk of infection at school 'extremely low'

A child's risk of catching the coronavirus at school is 'extremely low', Public Health England has said, and they're more likely to catch it at home. And teachers are barely at risk either.

The Government study looked at children across 131 English primary and preschools in June and early July.

Of 12,026 adults and children, just three tested positive for Covid-19. Two were staff and one was a child. 

It represents just 0.02 per cent of the whole cohort studied, and all cases were only mild or showed no symptoms at all.

It chimes with another recent report from PHE, which found only 0.01 per cent of 23,400 reopened schools in June had a Covid-19 outbreak.

Researchers also separately tested people in five regions of England for antibodies - proteins in the blood which signal someone has been infected, even if they are unaware.

A similar number of antibodies were found in the school children and staff compared with the general population, proving there is no higher risk in a educational setting. 

Almost every child in the study was under 11 years old, so it doesn't apply to secondary schools.  

A child's risk of catching the coronavirus at school is 'extremely low', Public Health England has said, and teachers are barely at risk either. Pictured: Year seven pupils Henry Holness, left, and Eddie Favell in class during their first day at Kingsdale Foundation School in London, Thursday, September 3

A child's risk of catching the coronavirus at school is 'extremely low', Public Health England has said, and teachers are barely at risk either. Pictured: Year seven pupils Henry Holness, left, and Eddie Favell in class during their first day at Kingsdale Foundation School in London, Thursday, September 3

Dr Shamez Ladhani, consultant epidemiologist, PHE said: 'This is the largest study of its kind in the country and suggests attending preschool and primary school brings no additional risk to either staff or students.

'Although these results are preliminary, they should be very reassuring to parents who may be anxious about their children returning to school.

'As has been found in previous research, infection within educational settings is extremely low, and while it appears that children do contract COVID-19, the overwhelming majority experience mild or no symptoms, and are unlikely to pass it on.'

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: 'I am hugely encouraged by the findings of this report, which support what the UK's Chief Medical Officers have already made clear - that the risk of catching coronavirus at school is low, meaning that the risk to children being out of school is, in fact, far greater.

'This week has seen thousands of children reunited with classmates and teachers as schools across the country begin to reopen for full-time education for all pupils at the start of the autumn term.' 

Nations globally have encouraged children to return to school - with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying missing any more education was 'far more damaging' for children.  

England's chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, has also said reopening schools brings less risk of long-term harm than keeping children at home. 

Preschool (3-4 year olds) and some primary school years (reception, Year 1) were allowed to return from June 1 in England.

CHILDREN ARE 20 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DIE OF AN INJURY THAN COVID-19 

Children under 10 years old are almost 20 times more likely to die from an accidental injury than of Covid-19, a study has claimed.

The research adds to growing evidence that youngsters are not vulnerable to serious illness from the disease.

Scientists led by Newcastle University also found under-10s are twice as likely to die from flu than they are from the coronavirus.

In an estimated total population of 137million from seven countries, there were 78 child deaths from Covid-19 compared with an estimated 21,966 deaths from all causes.

Covid-19 accounted for 0.35 per cent of deaths in children aged to 19 years old.

On the other hand, there were 1,755 caused by unintentional injury. Injuries were not described in the study but may include car accidents or burns. And there were 178 deaths caused by the flu.

Looking at data specifically for England and Wales, 15 people under the age of 20 have died of Covid-19 during the entire outbreak up to July 10.

Covid-19 accounted for 0.17 per cent of all deaths in children under the age of 10 years old. There were three Covid-19 deaths in this age group compared with 57 for an injury and seven for the flu.

For children aged between 10 and 19, there were 12 Covid-19 deaths (2.38 per cent of the total) - three times lower than the 44 from an injury.

But there were only three deaths from flu in this group, four times lower than Covid-19. 

This showed people should not ignore the coronavirus completely and should still be cautious, the researchers said. 

A small number of Covid-19 deaths were among children in the UK - 12 in the 10-19 age group and three in the under-10 age group. Most of these children would have had underlying health conditions, research has shown, which make them more vulnerable to serious illness.

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And some secondary school years (Year 10 and 12, 14 to 17

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