As the epidemic spread to the United States, data from Chinese health officials showed that children did not seem to get the virus as much as adults. If they did, they did not develop severe symptoms.
Now, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is warning of worrying signs that this may not be entirely true.
A 5-year-old boy in New York died on Thursday of complications from the coronavirus, Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday afternoon, adding that the state health department was investigating “several other cases that present similar circumstances ”.
“It would be really painful news and would open a completely different chapter, because I cannot tell you how many people I have spoken to have taken peace and comfort from the fact that children do not get the infection”, said Cuomo. “We thought that children could be vectors of transmission… but we did not think that children would suffer from it. “
But the boy’s death comes as New York State sees evidence that coronavirus can cause serious illness in children, Cuomo said.
There are 73 pediatric patients across the state with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome, Cuomo said. “We have been led to believe that the good news about this virus is that it does not affect children … we now have a new problem that we are investigating, what we are studying now,” he said. . .
Health officials believe it may be linked
In a notice to health care providers earlier this week, state officials said dozens of children in New York City had been hospitalized with a condition labeled “pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome”.
New York City warned on Monday that 15 patients aged 2 to 15 had been hospitalized in the past three weeks for Covid-related syndrome.
Most of them either tested positive for the coronavirus or tested positive for antibodies.
Some of the children had persistent fever, toxic shock syndrome, and characteristics similar to those of Kawasaki disease, the state’s health advisory said.
Kawasaki disease causes inflammation in the walls of the arteries and can limit blood flow to the heart. Although it is generally treatable and most children recover without serious problems, it can also be fatal. It mainly affects children under 5 years of age.
Symptoms include high temperature that lasts more than five days with a rash, swollen cervical glands, dry, chapped lips, swelling of the hands and feet, and redness in both eyes.
Not just New York
Kawasaki-like symptoms have appeared elsewhere in children. Seattle reported a case with a team from Stanford Children’s Hospital in California.
In the UK, pediatricians recently warned that a few children are getting sick with the rare syndrome that could be linked to coronavirus. Experts said abdominal pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and heart inflammation are common in these cases.
Similar cases have been reported in Italy and Spain.
A total of 216 people in New York State died from coronavirus on Thursday, Cuomo said at a press conference on Friday afternoon, calling the statistics “the most important and also the most painful “
The number of new COVID hospitalizations has remained stable in recent days, he said.
“We would have hoped to see a regular and clear drop in these figures … this is not happening, it is more flat. “
Overall hospital and intubation rates are falling, Cuomo said.
CNN Mallory Simon, Jamie Gumbrecht, Joe Sutton, Faith Karimi and Hollie Silverman contributed to this report.