The Moving Curve: Episode 51

Hello and welcome to The Moving Curve. I’m Rukmini, a data journalist based in Chennai. Every night on this mini-cast, I consider one question around the novel coronavirus epidemic in India. Tonight I’m asking this one — what’s the best way to make decisions about kids?

Writing for The New York Times, journalist Apoorva Mandavilli says that in one study, published last week in the journal Science, a team analyzed data from Wuhan and Shanghai and found that children were about one-third as likely to contract the coronavirus infection as adults were. But when schools were open, they found that children had about three times as many contacts as adults and three times as many opportunities to become infected, essentially evening out their risk. Based on their data, the researchers estimated that closing schools can reduce the infection’s surge by about 40% to 60% and slow the epidemic’s course. The second study, by a group of German researchers, was more straightforward, she writes. The team tested children and adults and found children who test positive harbor just as much virus as adults do — sometimes more — and so, presumably, are just as infectious.

These are not black and white decisions, and I know many, many households are struggling with these decisions, as restrictions begin to ease and I’ll be speaking to some of them.

Thank you for listening. This episode was edited by Anand Krishnamoorthi. Tomorrow — a new question.

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I am a data journalist based in Chennai, India.

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