New research suggests that daycare centers are places of low risk for coronavirus transmission. In the study, Yale University researchers on October 14 in PediatricsChildcare workers who continued to suffer from the pandemic were no greater risk of contracting the SARS-CoV-2 virus than those who did not.
The researchers asked over 57,000 childcare workers in all 50 US states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico whether they stayed open during the pandemic, whether they had to close at any time due to a suspected or confirmed case, and what safety measures they were putting in place and how they were going protect employees outside of working hours. Around half of respondents (48.6%) said the centers they worked for opened or closed and then reopened during the pandemic.
Overall, of the 57,335 child carers in the study, only 427 said they tested positive for COVID-1
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are less likely to develop coronavirus than adults. That makes childcare workers a “good gauge” of how likely the coronavirus is to spread in these environments, Gilliam told the Los Angeles times.
The most common precautions employees took were frequent hand washing and daily disinfection, but screening for symptoms, avoiding mixing toys between groups, and social distancing were also popular. The study found that only 11.8% of the centers reported that children older than two years of age wear masks on a daily basis, and only 35.2% of staff said they wear masks on a daily basis. Most institutions reported group sizes of eight or fewer children.
Personal decisions that childcare workers made outside of daycare, such as traveling, eating out at restaurants, or meeting family members, were associated with a higher risk of developing COVID-19. It wasn’t surprising either that the study found Native American / Alaskan, Latin American, and African American people were at higher risk. This risk was not related to the childcare facilities themselves, but was due to the other systemic factors that have led to COVID-19 disproportionately affecting people of color.
“Childcare itself did not contribute to the racial differences we see in COVID-19, but there are differences in the communities our providers live in,” Gilliam said Los Angeles times.
Most of the children attending the daycare centers that were still open were under six years of age (81.1%), and the researchers emphasized that the results do not automatically apply to K-12 or university students who have very different environments Childcare programs are different.
More importantly, these facilities should only be open when community prevalence is low or decreasing, as community transmission remained an important factor in childcare facilities that tested positive, the researchers wrote – even if the centers themselves are not hotspots for Seem to be COVID. 19 spread.
The researchers recognize the limitations of the study. First, it focused solely on the infection rate of childcare workers and did not take into account child-to-child or adult-to-child transmission. The researchers note that adults seem more likely to pass the virus on to children than the other way round, and is one reason why child carers should consistently wear masks around children. Second, since it was a survey, respondents had to have a known infection to be considered a positive case. If they had the virus but were asymptomatic, for example, they wouldn’t count. Because of this, the study likely underestimated the true positive number to some extent.
After all, the information gathered for the study came from spring 2020 – autumn and winter could have different risk factors as the virus continues to spread.
So the insight is that childcare facilities do not appear to increase the risk of childcare workers. But how seriously your community takes precautions in general – like wearing a mask, avoiding gatherings, and physically distancing yourself – continues to be key.