*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on MedicalXpress.
People under the age of 20 are half as likely to contract COVID-19 than the rest of the population, according to new modeling released on Tuesday that suggests four out of five infected young people show no symptoms.
The research, published in the Nature Medicine Journal, could help inform the next moves of governments under pressure to reopen schools and colleges shuttered since the start of the pandemic.
Experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine developed age-based COVID-19 transmission models based on data from six countries—China, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Canada and South Korea.
They also factored in previous research on estimated infection rates and severity of symptoms.
The team estimated that under-20s are at half the risk of COVID-19 infection than over-20s.
They also found a wide variation in symptomatic cases linked to age: only 21 percent of those aged 10 to 19 were likely to show symptoms compared with 69 percent of over-70s.
The researchers then simulated COVID-19 outbreaks in 146 capital cities around the world to see what effect school closures had on the spread of the disease.
Unlike with influenza outbreaks, where transmission was modeled to be sharply curtailed if schools were closed, the authors found the measure had little effect on stopping the novel coronavirus spreading.
“Whether to reopen schools or not is a complicated question,” said study co-author Rosalind Eggo.
“We’ve provided some evidence showing an indication of decreased (COVID-19) susceptibility in children.”