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Kids caught coronavirus at child care, infected family, CDC report says

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In this May 27, 2020 file photo, a worker at a daycare center in Tacoma, Wash., wears a mask as she cleans a tricycle following use by a class, a task that is repeated several times a day.

Ted S. Warren | AP

Twelve kids who likely caught Covid-19 at three child care centers in Utah went on to spread the virus elsewhere and infected some parents and siblings, according to a new study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The authors of the study note that research had previously shown that kids 10 years and older could spread the virus in schools. The new study is evidence that even younger kids, including an 8-month-old baby, can still spread the virus, despite not getting severely sick from Covid-19, the researchers said.

The study looked at outbreaks that occurred in three child care centers in Salt Lake City, between April and July. Using contact tracing data collected at the time of the outbreaks, the researchers used the data to “retrospectively construct transmission chains” to determine precisely how the virus spread. A total of 83 kids attended the three child care centers included in the study, the researchers said.

Among the three outbreaks, the researchers said 12 kids were infected with Covid-19 at the child care centers, though three of them never developed symptoms and nine developed just mild symptoms. The study says those 12 kids came into contact with 46 people not associated with the child care facilities and appear to have infected 12, or more than a quarter, of them. Those infected by the kids include six mothers, one of whom was hospitalized, three siblings and three others, the study says.

“Transmission was observed from two of three children with confirmed, asymptomatic COVID-19,” the researchers wrote, providing more evidence that those who do not have Covid-19 symptoms can still spread the virus. “COVID-19 is less severe in children than it is in adults, but children can still play a role in transmission.”

The role that kids, especially asymptomatic children, play in spreading the virus has become a much-contested topic as the debate over whether and how to reopen schools for in-person learning continues. While the researchers focused specifically on child care settings and not necessarily schools, they recommended testing as a useful mitigation and research tool.

“Two of three asymptomatic children likely transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to their parents and possibly to their teachers,” they wrote. “Having SARS-CoV-2 testing available, timely results, and testing of contacts of patients in child care settings regardless of symptoms can help prevent transmission and provide a better understanding of the role played by children in transmission.”

The researchers noted a few limitations of their study. Between April 1 and July 10, Salt Lake County identified 17 child care centers with at least two confirmed Covid-19 cases within a 14-day period, but the study only includes data on three of those centers.

The researchers added that guidance for contact tracing methodology changed during the pandemic and could have led to inconsistent data collection systems. Also, they said initial testing criteria was more restrictive and could have led to an undercount of infections.

And finally, the researchers noted that at one of the centers, they could not find the source of the outbreak, so it’s possible that cases at the center were brought in from another source. At the two other facilities, the researchers said they traced the source of infection to staff members who contracted Covid-19 through a family member. 

“Testing of contacts of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases in child care settings, including children who might not have symptoms, could improve control of transmission from child care attendees to family members,” the researchers concluded.

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Cramer unveils list of ‘return to normalcy’ stocks on vaccine optimism

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Sportsdigita’s software, used by major sports teams, sees growth during pandemic

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Angelina Lawton

Source: John Wagner

Sportsdigita, an all-in-one cloud-based presentation software company owned by former National Hockey League executive Angelina Lawton, sees opportunity amid the pandemic as sports teams conduct business online instead of in person.

The company, which counts the Chicago Bears, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Yankees among its clients, is raising $10 million to $25 million in Series A funding. It may use some of the money it rasies to acquire smaller firms that have been hurt financially by Covid-19.

Sportsdigita is a subscription-based software company that’s seen growth since Covid-19 halted in-person meetings. It offers customized presentations and integrates video conferencing and presentation software. It competes with other services, like Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams, both of which are included in an Office subscription.

But Sportsdigita considers itself “PowerPoint on steroids” because its Digideck software offers customized presentations for sports teams’ sales and marketing groups, which use them in pitches with corporate partners. Lawton said the Sportsdigita’s Digideck platform’s professional services, which come with subscriptions, help it stand out against competitors.

“That is a big differentiator between us and our competitors,” Lawton said. “We actually do the heavy lifting with the creative and design services. We’ll do the presentations and hand them over to teams once they are done, versus our competitors that will sell their product and then it will be up to the company or the professional team to put their packages together.” Subscriptions to Sportsdigita range in price from $20,000 to $500,000.

Lawton said the coronavirus pandemic sped up Sportsdigita’s development cycle, too.

“Prior to this, we were relying on getting on airplanes and face-to-face meetings,” Lawton explained, noting the product wasn’t scheduled to launch until 2021 or 2022 but was prioritized due to the pandemic.

Lawton said the Series A funding will better position Sportsdigita to gain market share among other companies that offer sales enablement software. MarketsandMarkets said in 2019 that sales enablement will be a $2.6 billion market by 2024.

Sportsdigita took a $3 million seed round in 2017 led by venture capital company Peak6 Investments. One of its investors is well-known Minnesota sports journalist Sid Hartman, who died on Oct. 18. Lawton said the company has 40 employees and wants to grow to 60 in 2021.

“In a baseball game, we’re in the fourth inning,” Lawton explained, describing Sportsdigita’s future. “These next innings will be critical for our success as far as how we pivot and grow.”


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CDC should warn people the side effects from shots won’t be ‘walk in the park’

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A volunteer is injected with a vaccine as he participates in a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination study at the Research Centers of America, in Hollywood, Florida, September 24, 2020.

Marco Bello | Reuters

Public health officials and drugmakers must be transparent about the side effects people may experience after getting their first shot of a coronavirus vaccine, doctors urged during a meeting Monday with CDC advisors as states prepare to distribute doses as early as next month.

Dr. Sandra Fryhofer of the American Medical Association noted that both Pfizer and Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccines require two doses at varying intervals. As a practicing physician, she said she worries whether her patients will come back for a second dose because of the potentially unpleasant side effects they may experience after the first shot.

“We really need to make patients aware that this is not going to be a walk in the park,” Fryhofer said during a virtual meeting with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an outside group of medical experts that advise the CDC. She is also a liaison to the committee. “They are going to know they had a vaccine. They are probably not going to feel wonderful. But they’ve got to come back for that second dose.”

Participants in Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine trials told CNBC in September that they were experiencing high fever, body aches, bad headaches, daylong exhaustion and other symptoms after receiving the shots. While the symptoms were uncomfortable, and at times intense, the participants said they often went away after a day, sometimes sooner, and that it was better than getting Covid-19.

Both companies acknowledged that their vaccines could induce side effects that are similar to symptoms associated with mild Covid-19, such as muscle pain, chills and headache.

One North Carolina woman in the Moderna study who is in her 50s said she didn’t experience a fever but suffered a bad migraine that left her drained for a day and unable to focus. She said she woke up the next day feeling better after taking Excedrin, but added that Moderna may need to tell people to take a day off after a second dose.

“If this proves to work, people are going to have to toughen up,” she said. “The first dose is no big deal. And then the second dose will definitely put you down for the day for sure … You will need to take a day off after the second dose.”

During the meeting on Monday, Patsy Stinchfield, a Children’s Minnesota nurse practitioner, said officials and drugmakers could try talking about the side effects in a more positive way. She said they could use language such as “response” instead of “adverse reaction.”

“These are immune responses,” said Stinchfield, a past voting member of the committee. “And so if you feel something after vaccination, you should expect to feel that. When you do, it’s normal to have some arm soreness or fatigue, some body aches and maybe even a fever. It sounds like in some of these trials, maybe even having to stay home from work.”

“You hear some people in the trials that are disappointed that they didn’t have any of those things, feeling they must have gotten a placebo” she added.

The committee meeting comes three days after Pfizer and its partner BioNTech applied for an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for their coronavirus vaccine.

The FDA process is expected to take a few weeks, and an advisory committee meeting to review the vaccine has been scheduled for early December. Some Americans could get their first dose of the vaccine in about a month.

ACIP is expected to call an emergency meeting to make specific recommendations on distribution once the FDA authorizes a vaccine.

Federal agencies are already sending vaccination plans around to staff. Five agencies have started telling employees they could receive Pfizer or Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine in as little as eight weeks, a person with first-hand knowledge of those plans told CNBC on Friday.


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