Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post |
The changing demographics of covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, are prompting a radical shift in testing strategies to prioritize asymptomatic children and teens.
Numerous jurisdictions are moving testing sites to sportsplexes, recreation centers or other locations convenient to where games and practices are held.
“Until now we haven’t seen transmission like this in kids in the pandemic.”Michael Osterholm, Infectious-disease specialist – Univ of Minnesota
On April 2, youths ages 13 to 19 in Michigan began to be tested before all practices and competitions, per an order from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D). Suffolk County, a suburb of New York City, became the first in the state to require weekly testing for kids participating in high-risk sports, such as high school wrestling and basketball. Numerous counties in California are doing the same.
Minnesota recommends that all school-age kids returning to school and their families get tested every two weeks, and that student athletes and those involved with other in-person activities get tested weekly.
Officials say they believe transmission may be happening through athletic activities, rather than in the classroom, because some sports such as wrestling, basketball and volleyball involve close indoor contact. They have also wondered whether outbreaks may be triggered by related interactions such as carpooling, sleepovers and team celebrations, when people let their guard down, rather than from the practices and games themselves.