By the time a three-week family vacation had ended this summer, 11 relatives in four states had contracted the coronavirus—a spread that started with one infected 13-year-old. Health officials want people to keep that in mind as families plan their upcoming holiday gatherings, the Chicago Tribune reports. The first lesson cited in the CDC's report on the outbreak is that "children and adolescents can serve as the source for COVID-19 outbreaks within families, even when their symptoms are mild." The agency said the case shows, again, the importance of social distancing. "None of the six family members who maintained outdoor physical distance without face masks during two visits to the family gathering developed symptoms," the report said. Even if they test negative, the CDC said, people should self-quarantine for 14 days if they've been exposed to the virus.
The teenager's exposure came during an outbreak in June. Four days later, before she had any symptoms, a rapid antigen test's results were negative. She developed her only symptom, nasal congestion, two days later, when she traveled with her family to the gathering. There, 14 relatives from five households shared a house without wearing masks or social distancing; the six who avoided symptoms visited but didn't stay there. Of the 11 other family members who came down with the virus, one was hospitalized and one went to the emergency room with respiratory symptoms. Both recovered, the CDC said. The report didn't name the states where the relatives live but attributed information to health departments in Illinois, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Georgia. "The virus can spread efficiently during gatherings," the CDC said, "especially with prolonged, close contact." (Read more coronavirus stories.)