Three kids in NY die of rare syndrome believed linked to virus
NEW YORK: Three children in New York have died from a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday, a development that may augur a pandemic risk for the very young.
Mr Cuomo told a daily briefing he was increasingly worried about a syndrome that shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which he said included inflammation of the blood vessels and potentially fatal damage to the heart.
He said three children - including a five-year old disclosed on Friday - have died from such symptoms while testing positive for Covid-19 or related antibodies.
Mr Cuomo, who has emerged as a leading national voice on states' response to the coronavirus crisis, said state health officials were reviewing 73 similar cases, which have rattled a prior assumption that children were largely not susceptible to the coronavirus.
"We are not so sure that is the fact anymore. Toddlers and elementary school children are presenting symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome," Mr Cuomo said.
"It's very possible that this has been going on for several weeks and it hasn't been diagnosed as related to Covid-19."
Mr Cuomo said state health officials had partnered with the New York Genome Centre and the Rockefeller University to look at whether there is a genetic basis for the syndrome and have been asked by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop national criteria for identifying and treating cases.
The syndrome shares symptoms with toxic shock and Kawasaki disease, which is associated with fever, skin rashes, swelling of the glands, and in severe cases, inflammation of arteries of the heart. Scientists are still trying to determine whether the syndrome is linked with the coronavirus because not all children with it have tested positive for the virus.
At another briefing, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said the death of a four-year old disclosed on Friday was not related to the syndrome. "This is a very specific situation with this blessed little kid and we are going to leave it at that." - REUTERS