An outbreak of coronavirus was reported at one summer camp in Georgia, where campers were not required to wear face masks.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study of the outbreak on Friday, saying it showed children were susceptible to the virus and “played an important role in transmission.”
According to its weekly report on morbidity and mortality, the camp, which was not named by the CDC, had a focus on 120 workers and more than 130 trainees in mid-June. Staff members remained in the camp and on 21 June. They were joined by more than 360 campers between the ages of 6 and 19.
Days later, on June 23, the teenager quit his job when a chills appeared and later found a positive coronavirus. The next day, the camp began sending people home and alerted the state public health department.
Among children and workers tested for the virus, 260 cases were positive, of which 231 were 17 years of age or younger.
“Circumstances such as multi-day, night-summer camps are a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, given the amount of time campers and workers spend up close,” the CDC quoted in a press release as saying.
The health department recommended that everyone who attended the camp be tested for the virus and self-quarantine. Those who tested positive were asked to differentiate. The camp closed on June 27th.
According to the CDC, everyone in the camp had to provide documents confirming that the virus was negative, but campers were not required to wear face masks. Only staff had to wear masks.
The report also noted that the campers slept in cabins and participated in “a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily energetic singing and entertaining.”
“As previously reported, asymptomatic infection was common and may have contributed to unnoticed transmission,” the CDC said in a statement. “This study complements the body of evidence showing that children of any age are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and, in contrast to early reports, may play an important role in transmission.”
The CDC said in a press release that proper use of face masks combined with strict cleansing and social isolation can help prevent the spread of the virus. These recommendations are included in the CDC’s recent guidelines for school renewal, which have been under discussion as the White House calls for schools to be fully open.