100 children in NYC with inflammatory illness possibly linked to COVID-19

One-hundred children in New York City have been diagnosed with Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome which may be related to COVID-19.

Mayor Bill de Blasio updated the number Thursday during his daily briefing on the coronavirus. Of the 100 children diagnosed, 55 tested positive for coronavirus or had antibodies.

A day earlier, the number of children diagnosed with the syndrome was 82.

"We need public awareness to grow rapidly," said the mayor.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced that 102 children had been diagnosed with PMIS and three had died including a five-year-old boy in NYC, a 7-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman. 

That number was expected to be updated during Cuomo's daily coronavirus briefing later Thursday. 

Sixty percent of the children in New York with the syndrome tested positive for coronavirus and forty percent tested positive for the antibodies, said Cuomo. Seventy-percent of the cases were in the Intensive Care Unit and 19 percent were intubated. Forty-three percent of the cases remain hospitalized. 


"This is not predominantly respiratory. This is an inflammation of the blood vessels which could affect the heart. It's more of a cardiac case than a respiratory case which is a new manifestation of the COVID virus. The Department of Health is being very aggressive in doing the investigation," said Cuomo during his daily coronavirus briefing.

Speaking during his daily briefing on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic, de Blasio announced a new public awareness campaign on radio, TV, bus stops and more aimed at parents and caretakers to be on the lookout for symptoms in children including high fever, rash, red, bright lips, swollen hands, feet, and abdominal pain.

"The sooner anybody identifies a child in their life with this problem the sooner they get the health care and the sooner that child can be saved," said de Blasio.

Health experts are not sure why some children have developed PMSIS.

New York hospitals have been ordered to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children experiencing these symptoms.

"Initially we thought COVID-19 didn't affect children, and now we're dealing with a disturbing issue where we have about 100 cases of an inflammatory disease in children that seems to be created by the virus," Cuomo said in a statement. "New York is leading the investigation of this situation and we are advising all hospitals and medical providers to prioritize diagnostic testing for any children that are displaying symptoms of this illness."

A website for families concerned about the syndrome was launched by New York, www.Health.NY.Gov.

Dr. Juan Salazar, the physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said two patients there are believed to have the rare condition, which he said often appears to present itself two to four weeks after a child has recovered from COVID-19, often without ever being diagnosed with the infection. Yale Health has said it's treating three children believed to have the syndrome.

Reports about these new pediatric COVID-19-associated cases are very preliminary. Medical professionals have said that the children with severe COVID-19-associated shock are outside the typical age range for Kawasaki disease, which primarily targets children under 7.

In New York, about 23 percent of cases have occurred in children under age 5, about 29% between the ages of 5 and 9, about 28% between ages 10 and 14 and 16% between the ages 15 and 19.

At least 3,000 U.S. children are diagnosed with Kawasaki disease each year. 

If your child seems off, if your child has one of these symptoms, call your doctor," said de Blasio.

Fourteen states are investigating similar cases and five European countries.


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With the Associated Press