United States to Reach 180K Deaths by End of August — CDC

Grant Boone
August 2, 2020

With school reopenings just a few weeks away, a report on how the new coronavirus spread rapidly through a summer camp in Georgia suggests kids transmit the virus very well.

Although the name of the camp wasn't given in the reports, the timeline appears to line up with an outbreak that occurred at the YMCA's Camp High Harbor on Lake Burton in Rabun County, near the state's northern border with North Carolina.

The camp held an orientation for 138 trainees and 120 staff members from June 17 to June 20 - the vast majority of whom were themselves aged 21 and under.

The highest percentage of positive results was seen among campers with 51 percent of those testing positive aged six to 10. If your child was registered for camp, you should have received an email notification. Of those who reported symptoms, the most commonly reported were subjective or documented fever, headache, and sore throat.

On June 21, the 250 employees were joined by three senior staff member and 363 campers ranging between ages six and 19. The camp notified state health officials and closed the camp on June 27.

On June 23, a teenage staff member left camp after developing chills the previous night.

The continental disease control and prevention agency also stressed that some 556, 695 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far. They tested positive for Covid-19, and the camp began sending kids home on June 24.

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On June 25, the Georgia Department of Public Health began an investigation into the camp and recommended that all attendees be tested and self-quarantine.

The camp followed most of the CDC's safety guidelines for youth and summer camps amid the pandemic - but not all, according to the MMWR. Health investigators did fault the camp for not opening enough windows and doors to increase circulation in buildings.

The CDC concluded their study by reminding everyone that "physical distancing and consistent and correct use of cloth masks should be emphasized as important strategies for mitigating transmission". And the children participated in both outdoor and indoor activities, including "daily vigorous singing and cheering".

The news of the Georgia camp outbreak came as California surpassed 500,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and set a new record for the number of coronavirus deaths reported in a single day for the fifth time in July. More than 300 children in total attended the camp.

The findings, the authors wrote, "demonstrate that SARS-CoV-2 spread efficiently in a youth-centric overnight setting, resulting in high attack rates among persons in all age groups".

It added that "asymptomatic infection was common and potentially contributed to undetected transmission".

"This investigation adds to the body of evidence demonstrating that children of all ages are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 infection and", the authors write, "contrary to early reports, might play an important role in transmission". The virus blazed through the community of about 600 campers and counselors, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday.

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