While health officials have long believed that children are less susceptible to the COVID-19 virus, that might no longer be the case.
In his May 8 press briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed that state health officials are seeing evidence that the virus is causing severe illnesses in children now—with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease (symptoms include high fever and peeling skin) and toxic-shock syndrome (symptoms include high fever, vomiting and rash)—with a five-year-old boy in New York City passing away on May 7 from COVID-related complications. The New York State Department of Health is investigating additional cases.
“This would be really painful news and would open up an entirely different chapter, because I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to, who took peace and solace in the fact that children were not getting infected,” said Cuomo. “We thought that children might be vehicles of transmission—the child could get infected and come home and infect the family—but we didn’t think children would suffer from it.”
Cuomo asked families to remain vigilant and seek care immediately for children experiencing prolonged fevers (more than five days); difficulty feeding (infants) or are too sick to take down fluids; severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting; change in skin color (becoming pale, patchy or blue); trouble breathing or breathing rapidly; racing heart or chest pain; decreased amount of frequency of urine; or lethargy, irritability or confusion.