A five-year-old boy has died of a rare inflammatory condition possibly linked to COVID-19, the first such death in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
While children have been shown, so far, to be far less likely to suffer severe harm from the coronavirus, there is growing concern that a rare complication might be causing some to experience swollen blood vessels and heart problems.
At least 73 children in New York – in the northeastern United States – have been diagnosed with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory condition in children, and toxic shock syndrome.
The death of a five-year-old boy Thursday at a New York City hospital is sad news for New Yorkers who believed children were largely unaffected by the coronavirus, Cuomo said.
“So this is every parent’s nightmare, right? That your child may actually be affected by this virus,” the Democratic governor said. “But it’s something we have to consider seriously now.”
Children elsewhere in the US have also been hospitalised with the condition, which was also seen in Europe.
A spokesperson for the Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital, which treated the child, expressed condolences to the family and stressed that the condition has been, thankfully, rare.
“While it is concerning that children are affected, we must emphasize that based on what we know thus far, it appears to be a very rare condition,” Mount Sinai spokesperson Jason Kaplan wrote in a statement. “Mount Sinai and the healthcare community will continue to investigate and study this new variant in hopes of finding a solution to this rare condition.”
There is no proof yet that the coronavirus causes the syndrome. At least 3,000 US children are diagnosed with Kawasaki disease each year. It is most common in children younger than six and in boys.
Symptoms include prolonged fever, severe abdominal pain and trouble breathing.