Graduating seniors on July 17 in Jefferson Township, Pennsylvania. Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

Children between the ages of 10 and 19 can spread the coronavirus at least as effectively as adults do, according to a recently published study out of South Korea.

Why it matters: The findings come amid a heated global debate on reopening schools as the coronavirus pandemic wears on. Experts warn that if schools resume this fall, communities could see clusters of the infection emerge that include children of all ages, citing the study findings.

How it works: South Korean researchers identified 5,706 people who first reported coronavirus symptoms in their households between Jan. 20 and March 27, when schools in the country were closed, according to the New York Times.

  • They traced 59,073 contacts from the original cases.

The researchers found that children in middle and high school were just as likely to infect others as adults.

  • Children younger than 10 years old were around half as likely as adults to spread the virus.

Yes, but: Researchers only traced children who felt sick. The transmission rates for asymptomatic cases remains unknown, and children are less likely than adults to develop symptoms.

The big picture: Several major schools systems in the U.S. have postponed in-person classes for the fall, including in Los Angeles, San Diego and New York City.

  • 71% of U.S. parents surveyed in a recent Axios-Ipsos poll said it would be risky to send their children back to school in the fall, including a slim majority of Republicans and a staggering nine in 10 Black Americans, Axios' Margaret Talev reports.

Read the study.

Go deeper

Oct 23, 2020 - Health

How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
Oct 23, 2020 - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

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