Jul 31, 2020 - Health

CDC: Most COVID-19 cases at Georgia summer camp came from kids

Decorated cabin

Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Despite mitigation efforts, a 597-person summer sleep-away camp in Georgia was responsible for a cluster of coronavirus cases in June, where more than half of the positive tests came from children under age 18, according to a case study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Kids are not immune to the coronavirus. The findings accentuate the unknown factors associated with how easily children transmit the virus, and only weeks before schools are expected to reopen.

Yes, but: The camp did not require its hundreds of campers to wear masks, only staff members. Activities campers participated in were both indoor and outdoor, and "daily vigorous singing and cheering" could have contributed to transmission.

  • The camp followed some precautions the CDC recommends, including cohorting of attendees by cabin and disinfection procedures. Children were also required to provide a negative COVID-19 test less than 12 days before arriving at camp.

By the numbers: The median age of those who contracted the illness was 12.

  • 51% of positive cases were in 6- to 10-year-olds.
  • 44% were from 11- to 17-year-olds.
  • 26% of positive cases reported no symptoms.

The CDC notes the study is limited in its findings and recognizes:

  • Attack rates presented are also likely an underestimate.
  • Kids could have contracted the virus prior coming to camp, despite test results.
  • Measuring if children adhered to adequate social distancing was also difficult.
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