What’s a Middle Schooler’s Role in Transmitting the Virus?

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Julia Berg, Staff Writer

COVID-19, or the coronavirus, was added onto the list of pandemics by the World Health Organization on March 11. Although middle schoolers aren’t the population most at risk, they do play a role in transmitting the virus. 

COVID-19 is primarily spread by respiratory droplets from an infected person, such as coughing or talking, though spread by aerosols, the suspension of fine solid particles, is a small possibility. This means that people in close contact have more exposure, and thus should reduce this by keeping six feet apart. 

The virus can also be transmitted through individuals who touch contaminated surfaces and then proceed to touch their face. These precautions are important as the virus can spread before symptoms appear, and people who don’t have the sickness yet may be carriers. 

Generally, kids are among those less likely to have severe cases of the coronavirus, but that doesn’t make them, or those they come into contact with, invincible. Inevitably, families cannot socially distance, so if one is a carrier, their family members are most at risk. As carriers can be asymptomatic, it could be extremely difficult to tell when there is a higher risk. This question of safety overwhelms many, but it is especially problematic for those living with high-risk individuals. As 8th grader Katy Bouchard says about her grandmother, “I want them to take the proper precautions. Yes, I am worried about them, but they are taking proper precautions so I think that they are safe.” The uncertainty of the situation is worrisome; however, learning about and taking precautions helps assure everyone’s health. 

As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states on their page of frequently asked questions about COVID-19, “Information about COVID-19 in children is somewhat limited, but current data suggest children with COVID-19 may show only mild symptoms. However, they can still pass this virus onto others who may be at higher risk, including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions.” As this quote says, and as previously stated, children can be carriers of the virus and infect those at a higher risk, such as adults over 65 and immunocompromised or people with underlying health conditions. 

In the U.S the number of new cases each day is growing exponentially. There is still a lack of information, testing, and resources available. However, it is known that everyone, including kids, can be carriers and take certain measures to minimize the spread of the virus. The CDC advises on how to protect oneself and others around them as it writes, “The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit social interactions as much as possible.” 

With no more classes in school, it can be difficult for friends to be seperated. When asked about her experience staying apart from her friends, Katy Bouchard said, “Sometimes it is hard because I am used to seeing them all of the time.” Even if it is tough to not have normal interactions, kids are finding ways to socialize. “I’ve been using facetime,” says Katy on her method. Other kids are meeting up in small groups to have socially distanced talks. Although these precautions are not ideal and can be bothersome, the effort spent taking them lowers the risk for everyone.