This report describes the development of the epidemiological situation in Sweden and summarises the state of knowledge about COVID-19 in children and teenagers, regarding morbidity, mortality, and transmission of the virus in Sweden. It also summarises the scientific literature on the spread of infection linked to preschools and schools and the morbidity to date among school staff.
Few confirmed cases among children but the more among adolescents
Children continues to constitute a small proportion of all confirmed COVID-19 cases, but one have to remember that children are tested to a lesser extent. On the other hand the number of cases increases with age. Teenagers seem to be more susceptible to becoming infected than younger children, but develop mild symptoms. During October, the number of diagnosed cases increased, especially among older teenagers.
Transmissions in schools related to adults or older teenagers
The knowledge we have today indicates that schools as such do not seem to be a risk environment for children. Rather, the infection seems to spread during leisure time, in close-contact sports and in other social contexts, such as parties or camps. . Professionals who meet larger groups of children in schools, primary school teachers, preschool teachers and child minders do not have a higher relative risk of being diagnosed with COVID-19 compared to other professions.
Knowledge of the consequences of school closures has increased. Possible negative effects such as loss of learning and impact on mental and physical health have been highlighted. In the light of current knowledge and in a situation where the pandemic is far from over, it is important to take measures that allow children and adolescents to attend preschool, primary and secondary schools as far as possible.