Today's MMWR on SARS-CoV-2 transmission at an overnight camp in Georgia found efficient spread of the virus among campers and staff while noting key steps to minimize the risk for SARS-CoV-2 introduction and transmission in camps were not strictly followed.
The camp adopted some mitigation steps found in CDC Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps to minimize the risk for SARS-CoV-2 introduction and transmission to include cohorting of attendees by cabin and enhanced cleaning and disinfection. However, the camp did not require the 600 campers to wear masks, only the staff. Additionally, camp attendees engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities that included daily vigorous singing and cheering, which might have contributed to transmission.
Settings, like multi-day, overnight summer camps, pose a unique challenge when it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases, considering the amount of time campers and staff members spend in close proximity. Correct and consistent use of cloth masks, rigorous cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, and frequent handwashing strategies, which are recommended in CDC’s recently released guidance to reopen America’s schools, are critical to prevent transmission of the virus in settings involving children and are key tools to prevent COVID-19.
For research on disease transmission in a congregate setting: SARS-CoV-2 Infections and Serologic Responses from a Sample of U.S. Navy Service Members — USS Theodore Roosevelt, April 2020.
For research on how universal mask use prevents disease transmission: Absence of Apparent Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 from Two Stylists After Exposure at a Hair Salon with a Universal Face Covering Policy — Springfield, Missouri, May 2020