Hundreds of children and staff members at an overnight camp in Georgia tested positive for the coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday.
The camp, which the CDC did not name, held an orientation in mid-June for 138 trainees and 120 staff members. On June 21, the staff were joined by 363 campers and three senior staff members, according to the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Two days later, a teenage staffer left the camp after developing chills and later tested positive for the coronavirus.
On June 25, the Georgia Department of Public Health began an investigation into the camp and recommended that all attendees be tested and self-quarantine. In all, 260 campers and staffers tested positive.
Though the camp adhered to certain safety measures in accordance with the state’s May executive order allowing camps to operate, other measures were not implemented, including requiring campers to wear cloth masks and opening windows and doors for increased ventilation in buildings.
These findings suggest that “children of all ages are susceptible to” the coronavirus and “contrary to early reports … might play an important role in transmission,” the CDC said.
Earlier this month, a study out of South Korea similarly found that children aged 10 to 19 can spread the coronavirus just as much as adults.
The large study, published by the CDC, reports that household transmission of the coronavirus “was high” for patients between 10 and 19 years of age. Household transmission rates were lowest for patients aged 0 to 9.
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The study is particularly pertinent at the moment as schools across the country weigh whether or not to reopen come fall.
“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, told The New York Times, warning that if schools reopen the coronavirus will spread.
“There will be transmission,” Osterholm added
The news of the Georgia camp outbreak came as California surpassed 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and set a new record for the number of coronavirus deaths reported in a single day for the fifth time in July.
At least 214 deaths were reported on Friday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The record was last broken on Wednesday, with 176 deaths reported.
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