Health Highlights: July 20, 2020

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

Older Children Spread New Coronavirus as Easily as Adults: Study

Children older than 10 can spread the new coronavirus as readily as adults do, according to a South Korean study that included nearly 65,000 people.

It also found that children younger than 10 are about half as likely as adults to spread the virus, The New York Times reported.

The findings, published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, come as debate about reopening schools in the fall rages across the United States

“I fear that there has been this sense that kids just won’t get infected or don’t get infected in the same way as adults and that, therefore, they’re almost like a bubbled population,” Michael Osterholm, an infectious diseases expert at the University of Minnesota, told The Times.

“There will be transmission,” Osterholm said. “What we have to do is accept that now and include that in our plans.”

Along with physical distancing, hand hygiene and masks, Osterholm and other experts say schools have to decide when and how to test students and staff, when and how long people need to quarantine, and when schools should be closed and reopened, the Times reported.


Pooled Sampling Approved for COVID-19 Test

An emergency use authorization has been issued for the Quest Diagnostics’ Quest SARS-CoV-2 rRT-PCR test for use with pooled samples containing up to four individual swab specimens collected under observation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The test is the first COVID-19 diagnostic test to be authorized for use with pooled samples.

Sample pooling is an important public health tool because it allows for more people to be tested quickly using fewer testing resources, according to the FDA.

“This EUA for sample pooling is an important step forward in getting more COVID-19 tests to more Americans more quickly while preserving testing supplies,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn said in an agency news release. “Sample pooling becomes especially important as infection rates decline and we begin testing larger portions of the population.”