Here is a long and thoughtful article analyzing the true risk to children. The most interesting finding to me is that children is Sweden, who have continued to go to school, appear to have had less risk of being infected than children in other countries with lockdowns. This suggest both that children aren’t passing the disease among themselves, or if they are, it is resulting in asymptomatic cases, and that they are more susceptible to infection when forced to stay-at-home in close contact with more adults. (Children Article) And the author notes, as I have, the extremely low rates of both infection and certainly deaths, among children.
Australia has sent children back in school, in part because of this official study, which shows both that children are at a low risk of becoming infected and don’t appear to be significant transmission agents. (Aus. Study) The researchers looked at all cases of children in one Australian state acquiring coronavirus and the relationship to school settings. There were only 9 students and 9 staff members with confirmed coronavirus infections. Out of 735 students and 128 staff who were close contacts of these persons, two children might have contracted the disease from the infected persons. The researchers noted that coronavirus appears far less prevalent and infectious in children than is flu. Australian data found that children 19 and under are 23% of the population but only 4% of cases.
It is critical that we allow children to resume normal life as quickly as possible. They should be in school, they should be permitted to engage in their usual extracurricular and other activities. We have unduly frightened them, although it is clear that they have an essentially zero risk of serious illness and are unlikely to be significantly involved in transmission of the disease to others.