Three New York children have died of a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the new coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday, a development that could augur of a pandemic risk for very young children.
Cuomo and his counterpart in neighboring New Jersey also spoke on Saturday of the increasing consequences of the pandemic on mental health, another factor that worries governors as they assess the impact of increasing job losses compared to to health risks by moving to relax restrictions on daily life.
Almost all 50 states in the US will have taken steps to loosen lockdown measures by this weekend, including states like Arizona and Mississippi, which are reporting an increase in COVID-19 infections, the disease caused by the virus, highlighting the risk of a new wave of outbreaks.
Cuomo said in a daily briefing that he was increasingly concerned about a symptom-sharing syndrome with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which he said included inflammation of the blood vessels and potentially damage deadly to the heart.
He said three children – including a five-year-old child revealed on Friday – died of these symptoms while testing positive for COVID-19 or related antibodies, suggesting a link that was not yet fully understood.
Cuomo, who has emerged as a leading national voice on the state response to the coronavirus crisis, said state health officials were examining 73 similar cases, which has shaken an earlier assumption that children were largely insensitive to the new coronavirus.
“We are no longer sure that this is the case. Toddlers and elementary school children have symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or shock-like toxic syndrome, “said Cuomo. “It is very possible that this has been going on for several weeks and that he has not been diagnosed with COVID. “
Cuomo said state health officials have partnered with the New York Genome Center and Rockefeller University to examine whether there is a genetic basis for the syndrome and that the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked to develop national criteria to identify and treat cases.
The syndrome shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which is associated with fever, rashes, swollen glands and, in severe cases, inflammation of the arteries of the heart. Scientists are still trying to determine if the syndrome is related to the new coronavirus because not all children with the virus have tested positive for the virus.
At a separate briefing, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the death of a four-year-old boy disclosed on Friday was unrelated to the syndrome. “It is a very specific situation with this blessed little child and we will stop there. “
New York and New Jersey are at the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, accounting for almost half of the 77,737 American deaths due to COVID-19, according to a Reuters count, and both states have among the lock rules the strictest ones still in place.
They are also at the center of a devastating economic record highlighted by government data released on Friday showing that the unemployment rate in the United States fell to 14.7% last month, from 3.5% in February and breaking the 10.8% record set after World War II. November 1982.
Cuomo said his condition has seen more and more reports on mental health issues, substance abuse and domestic violence, all linked to economic stress and the isolation of blockages.
On Friday, a study published by the Well Being Trust and the American Academy of Family Physicians estimated that an additional 75,000 people could die from suicide, drugs and other contributors to “deaths of despair” resulting from the crisis.
Murphy echoed these concerns. “The cure for the health crisis is to keep people isolated,” said Murphy during his briefing. “You add to this loss of employment, the small businesses that have been crushed. It’s a toxic mixture. “
Cuomo said 226 New Yorkers died from COVID-19 on Friday, up from 216 a day earlier, but less than half the levels recorded two weeks ago. He said hospitalizations and intubations continued their downward trend, further evidence that the state has gained some control over the virus.
Murphy said 166 other residents of his state had died in the past 24 hours due to COVID-19, bringing the total of his deaths to 9,116, while the total number of cases increased from 1,759 to 137,085.
On a positive note, Murphy said that the number of people hospitalized for the disease continued to decline, as the 422 patients discharged in the past 24 hours exceeded the 364 newly admitted for treatment.
However, Murphy cautioned against complacency and said that his constituents should continue to practice social distancing.
“We didn’t get out of the woods, friends. Let’s not forget that, “he said. – Reuters