More N.Y. children come down with a mysterious COVID-19 complication
100 cases probed of syndrome affecting blood vessels, organs
NEW YORK — Amber Dean had recovered from a mild bout of the coronavirus and her family of five had just ended their home quarantine when her oldest son, 9-yearold Bobby, fell ill.
“At first it was nothing major, it seemed like a tummy bug, like he ate something that didn’t agree with him,” said Dean, who lives with her husband and three young children in the western New York town of Hornell. “But by the next day, he couldn’t keep anything down and his belly hurt so bad he couldn’t sit up.”
At the local hospital emergency room, doctors suspected an appendix infection and sent him home with instructions to see his pediatrician.
It was only later, after Bobby’s condition took an alarming turn for the worse, that doctors realized he was among the small but growing number of children with a mysterious inflammatory syndrome thought to be related to the virus.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that New York is now investigating about 100 cases of the syndrome, which affects blood vessels and organs and has symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock. Three children in the state have died and Cuomo advised all hospitals to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children presenting with symptoms.
In New York City, which has reported at least 52 children sick with the syndrome, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday urged parents to call their pediatricians promptly if their children show symptoms including persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.
That’s what Bobby Dean’s family did, even though they live in Steuben County, which has only 239 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and is in a part of the state set to start reopening some workplaces on Friday.
The family doctor performed a coronavirus test the day after his trip to the emergency room, but the results would take 24 hours. By that night, the boy’s fever had spiked, his abdomen was swollen, he was severely dehydrated and his heart was racing. His father, Michael Dean, drove him to Golisano Children’s Hospital in Rochester, 90 minutes away.
“At Rochester they did a rapid COVID test and it came back positive,” Amber Dean said. For the next six days, she was at his hospital bedside while Bobby was hooked up to IV lines and a heart monitor. He came home on Mother’s Day.
“It never affected his respiratory system, it was his heart that it affected,” Dean said. Inflamed lymph nodes caused the abdominal pain, she said. “They’re hoping he pulls through with 100% recovery but they said there have been children with lasting effects.”
“It’s a pretty scary thing, watching your child be hooked up to all these wires and IVs and there’s nothing you can do,” Dean said. “In my opinion, right now, I would not let your child out in public.”
Children elsewhere in the U.S. and in Europe have also been hospitalized with the condition known as pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.
In New York, the syndrome has been found across a wide range of young people. A 5-year-old boy, 7-yearold boy and an 18-year-old woman have died.
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.
“This is a truly disturbing situation and I know parents around the state and parents around the country are very concerned about this, and they should be,” Cuomo said. “If we have this issue in New York it’s probably in other states.”
Meanwhile, Cuomo called face masks a sign of respect for others on a day the state reported 195 new deaths. Warning that the state isn’t out of danger yet, he urged New Yorkers to wear masks out of respect for the nurses and doctors who have died to protect people from the pandemic, which he said had killed another 195 people.
There have been more than 4.2 million confirmed cases of the virus worldwide and more than 287,000 deaths. Russia has reported more than 232,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,100 virus-related deaths as of Tuesday, figures experts say are likely significant under counts.
In Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was hospitalized with the coronavirus, the latest in a series of setbacks for President Vladimir Putin as the country struggles to contain the growing outbreak. The announcement of Peskov’s hospitalization came a day after Putin announced Monday that Russia was easing some of its nationwide lockdown restrictions.
Peskov is not the only top Russian government official to come down with the
Commuters wearing masks and gloves observe social distancing guidelines on a subway escalator in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin has declared an end to a partial economic shutdown but has ordered many restrictions to stay in place.
Nine-year-old Bobby Dean lay in a hospital bed in Rochester, N.Y., after suffering dehydration, abdominal pain and a racing heart. Doctors diagnosed him with a syndrome related to the virus. He was able to go home after six days in the hospital.