Teenage girl tested negative for COVID-19; Runny nose spread coronavirus to 11 relatives: CDC report

Teenage girl tested negative for COVID-19; Runny nose spread coronavirus to 11 relatives: CDC report

For representational purpose


A 13-year-old girl infected 11 family members out of 13 with coronavirus while the family stayed together in a vacation home for 25 days.

A 13-year-old girl infected 11 family members out of 13 with coronavirus. In contrast, the family stayed together in a vacation home for three weeks, reveals a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In June 2020, the girl was exposed to a 'major outbreak' of coronavirus while away from home but tested negative on a rapid test. So she, her parents, and her brother followed up with an extended family reunion, where they shared a home with nine other relatives for three weeks.

At the end of the holidays, all but two people who were staying at the house were infected, where they did not wear masks or stay two meters away. Meanwhile, six other relatives who only spent time with their extended family outside and kept their distance escaped unscathed from the super spreader weekend.

It highlights both the possibility of children contracting and spreading the coronavirus, as well as the much higher risks of infection faced by groups that share the interior space without preventive measures.

Because a large number of infected people had surrounded her, the teenager's parents took her for the test. They waited four days after their exposure, a period at the low end of the coronavirus incubation period.

She still had no symptoms when the rapid antigen was administered. The teenager tested negative, no doubt a relief to her family, especially considering the reunion they had planned.

But two days later, on the day of departure, the girl was congested, but otherwise felt fine. Besides, she had a negative rapid test result, so her family chose to continue with the holidays. Moreover, the girl never showed any of the other symptoms of COVID-19, like fever, shortness of breath, cough, or loss of smell or taste.

Rapid antigen tests, the same type used to screen members of the White House since President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced they had COVID-19, rarely return false-positive results, but they are not as good as other diagnostics, they detect low levels of the virus and have relatively high false-negative rates.

In all, 14 family members between the ages of nine and 72 stayed in the five-room home at an undisclosed location for eight to 25 days.

Nobody wore masks. No one maintained social distancing. The other six members of the extended family, an aunt, an uncle, and four cousins, visited him during the day but did not stay overnight.

Infectious disease specialists like Dr Anthony Fauci suspect that the constant airflow outside makes it relatively safe to go without a mask, as long as you keep your distance.

However, indoors ventilation is not guaranteed to be particularly good, and the CDC now believes that just breathing in a confined space can allow the virus to reach infectious concentrations.

At the end of the trip, 12 of the 14 family members who remained in the house (including the 13-year-old girl who introduced the virus, but who only had a runny nose) had symptoms of coronavirus.

A cousin who stayed at home developed symptoms but was never tested for COVID-19. Two never developed symptoms. One of them tested negative, and the other was never tested.

All other members of the vacation home were suspected, probable or confirmed cases of coronavirus.

In contrast, none of the six family members who visited the outside of the house but kept their distance and did not spend time inside tested positive.

One of the relatives who fell ill from the outbreak had to be hospitalized, and another went to the emergency room, but both recovered, and all family members survived the ordeal.

Nonetheless, it was a heartbreaking demonstration of how the virus can spread.

'This outbreak highlights several important issues. First, children and adolescents can serve as the source for COVID-19 outbreaks within families, even when their symptoms are mild,' wrote the CDC report authors.

While President Trump has continually insisted that it is safe for children to return to school and that they will not contract or spread COVID-19 to their families, the report is the latest of several counterpoints.

It follows a massive study conducted in India that found that children are more important drivers of transmission than previously thought (as are super-spread events).

'Second, this investigation provides evidence of the benefit of physical distancing as a mitigation strategy to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission,' the CDC wrote.

'Finally, SARS-CoV-2 can spread efficiently during gatherings, especially with prolonged, close contact.

'Physical distancing, face mask use, and hand hygiene reduce transmission; gatherings should be avoided when physical distancing and face mask use is not possible.'

Show Full Article
Print Article
Next Story
More Stories