New York warns of children’s illness linked to Covid-19 after three deaths
The deaths of three children in New York of inflammatory complications possibly linked to Covid-19 has prompted Andrew Cuomo, the state’s governor, to warn of “an entirely different chapter” of a disease that had been believed to cause only mild symptoms in children.
The governor reported the first death, of a five-year old boy, on Friday. At his morning press conference on Saturday, Cuomo raised the number of fatalities to three, after the death of a seven-year-old and a teenager.
“The illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers,” Cuomo said. “This is new. This is developing.”
State health authorities said last week there have been 73 reported cases in New York of children falling severely ill with a toxic shock-like reaction that displays symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease.
Cuomo said many of the children did not display respiratory symptoms commonly associated with Covid-19 when they were brought to area hospitals, but all of them tested positive either for the virus or its antibodies.
NBC News found at least 85 such cases in children across the US with a majority in New York state, which has also recorded the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
“We thought children could be vehicles of transmission … but we didn’t think children would suffer from it,” Cuomo said when he announced the first child fatality. He described the development as “really painful news”.
Kawasaki disease, which mainly affects children under five, can cause the immune system to go into “overdrive”, causing fever, severe diarrhea, rashes and conjunctivitis. In more severe cases it can inflame the walls of the arteries, affecting bloodflow to the heart and is potentially fatal.
The death of the five-year old boy marks the first fatality from the new illness in the US. Seattle has reported a case along with a team at California’s Stanford children’s hospital.