Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, told CNN’s Erica Hill on Wednesday that the data on the new coronavirus variant and its transmissibility in children is “still very early.”
He said he is “not yet convinced that the discussion about children is necessarily undergirded by rigorous science.”
Collins added that he thinks he believes that the variant is more transmissible among adults, but “we need more data on the kids to be sure that that signal is there.”
If it is, he said, it wouldn’t be surprising, “if this is a virus that’s particularly good at transmitting in adults, why not with kids as well.”
He pointed out that very importantly, “nobody has seen any evidence that this causes more severe illness, only that it spreads more rapidly. Very important distinction.”
Some context: Experts in the UK suggested this week there was a “hint” that the new coronavirus strain could have “a higher propensity to infect children,” compared with earlier strains, although it has not been shown to be more dangerous than others strains, or more dangerous for children than adults.
More information is needed, the experts said.