More cases of an inflammatory illness related to novel coronavirus (COVID-19) that is impacting children, teenagers, and young adults have been reported in New York, though that might just be the tip of the iceberg, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
There have now been 137 confirmed cases of Pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome (PMIS), a new health condition appearing in children in New York and elsewhere, officials said. Three young New Yorkers have died from the illness. The latest fatality nationally was a 15-year-old girl from Baltimore.
Some doctors think the condition is related to having COVID-19, but the connection is still not clear, though 90 percent of children diagnosed with PMIS either had COVID-19 or tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, which means they previously had the virus.
The illness has been reported in New Yorkers between the ages of 1 and 21, and has claimed the lives of three under the age of 18.
“This is a serious issue that we think we spotted in New York first,” Cuomo said. “I think it’s going to get much worse before it gets better, and I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Since the illness was first identified in New York, it has been identified and diagnosed in more than a dozen states and multiple countries.
Cuomo said that the illness leads to inflamed blood vessels and heart inflammation which is expected to be a response to the virus.
“It didn’t look like the COVID virus because it wasn’t respiratory, it was inflammatory so we didn’t initially look at them as COVID cases,” he said. “But looking back now, most were positive for the virus or antibodies. I believe we discovered (the illness) and gave the nation and other countries the head start.
“Most of these cases and infections are coming from people who are at home and not working, which was shocking to me,” Cuomo added. “That’s why personal behavior is so important, these people aren’t on a train or a bus, they’re not essential workers, they’re getting it at home.”
Predominant symptoms of the COVID-19-related illness, according to the Department of Health, include:
- Prolonged fever of more than five days;
- Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, or vomiting;
- Bloodshot eyes;
- Skin rash.
Other symptoms include:
- Change in skin color - becoming pale, patchy, and/or blue;
- Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids;
- Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly;
- Racing heart or chest pain;
- Lethargy, irritability, or confusion.
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