Special Report

Shutdown: The Coronavirus

Coronavirus might have caused the death of many children who were misdiagnosed 

The rate of coronavirus infections in children has been rising. Photo by @takgargonia via Twenty20

Hospitals in New York have reported 73 cases of coronavirus in children and 12 deaths. But according to Governor Cuomo, there might have been many more who slid under the radar as minors do not present the same symptoms as adults, and the virus causes other complications in them.

“We were laboring under the impression that young people were not affected by Covid-19, and that was good news,” said Cuomo. “It is very possible that this has been going on for several weeks, and it hasn’t been diagnosed as related to Covid.”

Once the virus starts acting on kids, they may experience complications like inflammation of blood vessels that can be lethal if these reach their hearts. But health specialists did not have the knowledge of this being linked to Covid-19 until now. 

In addition to the possibly misdiagnosed cases in New York, health officials say there might be others nationwide that have not been linked to Covid-19. When the pandemic arrived in to the state. in March, the world had seen very few rare cases of kids affected by the virus. Experts believed adults and seniors were the most vulnerable.

 Children contaminated with coronavirus present difficulty to swallow liquids, diarrhea or vomiting, paleness, in addition to some of the symptoms that adults experience, like trouble to breathe and chest pain. But kids do not necessarily cough, lose the sense of smell and taste, or have muscular pain.  

Early recognition by pediatricians, referral to a specialist and critical care is essential.

Three New York children have died,  a 5 year old in the city, a 7 year old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County.

The State Department of Health is partnering with the N.Y. Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA Sequencing Study to understand why the effects of the coronavirus are different in children, and how to treat them.

Cuomo said many of these children did not show respiratory symptoms previously associated with the coronavirus when they were brought to hospitals, but all of them tested positive either for Covid-19, or for its antibodies.

In countries like China and Spain, where there have been very few cases of coronavirus infections in children, one of the first steps to end lockdowns has been to allow kids to go on the streets accompanied by adults for a few hours a day. But for New York that now represents a risk.

 


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