May 12, 2020 By Allie Griffin
A rare and potentially deadly illness linked to the novel coronavirus has infected more than 50 children across the five boroughs.
Mayor Bill de Blasio today said that 52 children have confirmed cases of what doctors are calling “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome” with 10 cases still being evaluated.
That’s up from 38 cases reported as of yesterday.
The numbers “continue to grow and that’s why we are really really concerned,” de Blasio said at a press briefing this morning.
“It’s sobering, it’s bluntly frightening,” he said.
The new cases run counter to the healthcare community’s previous belief that COVID-19 largely overlooks children.
Of 62 cases total, 25 children have tested positive for coronavirus and 22 have the virus antibodies. The city didn’t provide details on the remaining 15 cases.
“This was not something that the healthcare community saw on their radar and then in the last week or two suddenly we’re seeing something that’s very troubling,” de Blasio said.
The syndrome is similar to toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease, health experts say. It causes inflammation that can send the body into a state of shock and cause organ failure.
If left untreated the condition can permanently damage a child’s heart. One New York City child has died from the illness.
Symptoms of the syndrome include persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Early detection and treatment is key to aiding a child inflicted by the rare illness, health experts say.
“Early detection, early action makes all the difference here,” de Blasio said.
The City has put out a health alert to doctors and parents across the city warning them of the frightening illness.
“We’re combining the efforts of healthcare professionals all over New York City to understand what it is and how to deal with it in this context of the coronavirus,” the mayor said.