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Very little spread of COVID found at summer camps: study

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Day camps are not a breeding ground for the coronavirus, according to a new study.

Researchers at Duke University found very few instances of COVID-19 spreading at North Carolina summer camps where mitigation measures were strictly followed.

The team analyzed data from more than 6,500 children and staffers at 54 YMCA camps — and identified just 10 kids and nine workers with confirmed infections.

“Our study suggests that appropriate measures to reduce the spread of disease can create an environment where normal childhood activities such as day camp, school and after-school recreation can be provided with minimal risk,” said study co-author Emily D’Agostino.

The study period spanned from March through August 2020, when local community cases of COVID-19 were on the rise.

Out of the 19 coronavirus infections recorded at the camps, only two patients were believed to have caught the virus there, while all of the others were infected outside of camp.

Of the camps the researchers looked at, 39 percent offered mostly indoor activities, 38 percent were outdoors and 23 percent had activities in both settings.

All of them had strict COVID-19 mitigation measures, including mask-wearing, hand washing and social distancing.

They also cleaned and disinfected daily and had daily temperature checks. Groups for activities were minimized to include just 10 kids and one adult.

The researchers said their findings suggest that, when mitigation measures are followed, the benefits of “in-person programming” — such as at camps and schools — may outweigh the risk of transmission.

“These data should be helpful to school systems and childcare providers as they navigate this exceedingly difficult time, yet work to promote the wellbeing of children and primary caregivers,” said study co-author Ibukun Akinboyo.

The study was published in the journal “Pediatrics” on Feb. 3.

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