has disproved the belief that children do not spread Covid-19.
Based on data for 85,000 patients and their 5.8 lakh contacts in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the study — one of the largest in the world — also shows the elderly in India are not at the highest risk of death from Covid. Here are four of its main findings.
Risk of child to child spread
Some European countries kept schools open through the summer believing childdren are a low-risk group and do not spread Covid. However, the Indian study shows more than 5,300 school-aged children transmitted Covid to their 2,508 contacts, especially those of a similar age
Some big spreaders cause most cases
The study shows just 5% of index cases (initial patients) were behind 80% of new infections while 71% did not infect anyone at all. Also, the first case in a cluster of infections is usually male and older than the others. This might be because men in India encounter more crowded settings and are also more likely to get tested.
Risk lower after 65 years
In countries with high death rates, most deaths occurred among the elderly, but in India the death rate actually drops off in the 65-plus group. This may be because Indians of that age are generally better off and have access to better healthcare
The study also shows Indians are reporting late to hospitals, possibly because of financial constraints. The median hospital stay for patients who die is five days in India, as against two weeks in the US.
High risk at home
Covid spreads fast when people travel together, but most infections occur in home and community settings where they spend a long time together indoors.
Source: Science journal, media reports