Study: Mississippi children attending social gatherings far more likely to contract COVID-19

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, December 15, 2020

A new academic study of Mississippi COVID-19 cases in children showed attending social functions — not school — increased virus risk by 140 percent.

The study was done by a team of doctors and researched, including several at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. The study examined hundreds of pediatric cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus, known medically as SARS-CoV-2, in children living in Mississippi.

“Kids attending social functions at 140% increased risk of COVID — placing and vulnerable in harm’s way,” wrote Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs regarding the new study.

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The takeaway from the study is that school age children who test positive for COVID-19 were not more likely to have attended school, where masks are generally mandated by the state, but were more likely to have attended community gatherings like weddings, parties, funerals or playdates.

The study also indicated a greater likelihood of COVID-19 infection at schools where consistent mask usage was not in effect.

“Consistent use of face masks and social distancing continue to be important to prevent COVID-19 spread,” the study authors wrote.”

The study showed a 19 percent difference in cases among children whose parents reported that they always wore masks at school or child care facilities versus children who did not.

“Attending in-person school or child care during the 2 weeks before the SARS-CoV-2 test was not associated with increased likelihood of a positive SARS-CoV-2 test result,” the study authors wrote. “The majority of respondents reported universal mask use inside school and child care facilities as recommended by Mississippi State Department of Health.”

“Exposures and activities in which persons are less likely to maintain mask use and social distancing, including family gatherings and group activities, might be important risk factors for SARS-CoV-2 infection among children and adolescents,” they wrote.

The full study can be read here: