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Around 80% of children who tested positive for the novel coronavirus caught it from family members, the Japan Pediatric Society has found.

“School closures have proven to have only a limited effect (of protecting children from the virus),” the group said.

According to the society’s data collected so far this year, its member doctors reported that 472 patients age 19 or younger were found to have contracted the virus as of Oct. 8 and that 78 percent of the total were infected by their family members, such as parents and grandparents. The reported cases accounted for 7.6 percent of all under-20 cases in the country.

Even in September and October, when students were back to school in many parts of the country, the “contraction-at-home” rate remained at around 80%, while the rate of virus transmission from staff at schools, kindergartens and nurseries stood low at around 10%.

The society also found that young people have low risk of suffering severe COVID-19 symptoms, as the data showed that around 90% of the infected children recovered without receiving treatment and that only 0.4% needed intensive care.

“You should carefully consider whether to close schools in view of educational delays and stresses on children,” said Tomohiro Katsuta, a lecturer at St. Marianna University School of Medicine who analyzed the data.

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