The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that “children of all ages are susceptible” to coronavirus after more than 200 kids who attended the same summer camp were infected.
The camp was home to more than 500 campers and staff aged under 17 between June 21 and 27. Of those, 260 have since tested positive for coronavirus.
The outbreak seems to date from June 23, when a teenage staff member began experiencing symptoms while at the camp. They returned home the following day and subsequently tested positive for the virus.
While administrators began sending campers home almost immediately, it was three days before the process was complete and the camp was closed.
According to a CDC release, while staff members had been told to wear cloth masks, campers were not. Other precautionary recommendations, such as keeping cabins well-ventilated, were also not implemented.
The CDC notes that campers “engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily vigorous singing and cheering” – activities that carry a high risk of virus transmission.
There were 597 people in total at the camp. Test results were available for 344 (58%) attendees; among these, 260 (76%) were positive.
The CDC report points out that “attack rates presented are likely an underestimate because cases might have been missed among persons not tested or whose test results were not reported.”
The report adds that what happened at the camp indicates that “children of all ages are susceptible” to coronavirus, especially when placed in large group settings, and “might play an important role in transmission.”
Children between the ages of six and 10 had the highest infection rate
State Governor Brian Kemp had issued an executive order on June 11 allowing campers and workers to attend overnight camps as long as they had tested negative for Covid-19 within 12 days of starting camp.
Georgia has suffered 3,825 deaths directly linked to the virus, and is the fifth worst-affected state for infections on the CDC’s official list with 186,352 confirmed cases.