Does letting kids get coronavirus help build immunity among Quebec’s wider society?

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The Quebec government has suggested that reopening schools and daycares could be a way to both kick-start its economy and slow the transmission of COVID-19 in the province.

Quebec’s public health director, Horacio Arruda, told a news conference last Friday it was “very excessively rare” for children to develop severe symptoms from COVID-19. Allowing them to catch the virus and become immunized would help the wider society, he said.

“Because the more children will be, in my opinion, naturally immunized by the disease, the less they will become active vectors with older people,” Arruda said.

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Evidence that children infected with the novel coronavirus rarely develop serious symptoms of the disease has led to talk of exposing students to the virus as a quasi-vaccination strategy and a way of building herd immunity — a type of resistance to the disease’s spread within society.

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READ MORE: What is herd immunity and what does it mean for COVID-19?

Premier François Legault has floated the idea of reopening schools and daycares before May 4, if COVID-19 hospitalizations stabilize, so adults can return to work without worrying about finding care for their children.

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