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Effect of Living With Children on COVID-19 Risk Explored in U.K.

MONDAY, March 22, 2021 -- For adults aged 65 years and younger living with children, there was no evidence of an increased risk for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection or COVID-19-related hospitalization during wave 1, but there was during wave 2, according to a study published online March 18 in The BMJ.

Harriet Forbes, Ph.D., from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues examined whether the risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection and outcomes of COVID-19 differed for adults living with and without children. Data were included for 9,334,392 adults aged 65 years and younger during waves 1 (Feb. 1 to Aug. 31, 2020) and 2 (Sept. 1 to Dec. 18, 2020).

The researchers found that living with children did not materially increase risks for SARS-CoV-2 infection, COVID-19-related hospital or intensive care unit admission, or death from COVID-19 during wave 1. Living with children of any age was associated with an elevated risk for recorded SARS-CoV-2 infection (hazard ratios, 1.06 and 1.22 for living with children aged 0 to 11 and aged 12 to 18 years, respectively) and with COVID-19-related hospital admission (corresponding hazard ratios, 1.18 and 1.26) during wave 2. In both waves, living with children aged 0 to 11 years was associated with a reduced risk for death from COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 causes.

"These increased risks during wave 2 were observed at a time when schools remained open, raising the possibility that widespread school attendance may have led to increased risks to households," the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to GlaxoSmithKline.

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