Age-dependent effects in the transmission and control of COVID-19 epidemics

This article aims at evaluating whether the markedly low proportion of COVID-19 cases among children could be explained by children having lower susceptibility to infection, lower propensity to show clinical symptoms or both. The authors evaluate these possibilities by fitting an age-structured mathematical model to epidemic data from China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Canada and South Korea. They estimate that susceptibility to infection in individuals under 20 years of age is approximately half that of adults aged over 20 years, and that clinical symptoms manifest in 21% of infections in 10- to 19-year-olds, rising to 69% of infections in people aged over 70 years. Accordingly, they find that interventions aimed at children might have a relatively small impact on reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, particularly if the transmissibility of subclinical infections is low.

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