Three children in New York have died as a result of a syndrome associated with COVID-19, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
There are at least 73 cases related to the syndrome in children in the state, according to the governor. The majority affected were infants or elementary school-aged children.
Cuomo said that children have come into hospitals with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease, a rare inflammatory syndrome typically affecting those younger than 5. The children did not present typical COVID-19 symptoms, such as respiratory distress, but they did test positive for either the virus or the antibodies, meaning they had the virus at some time.
He said the situation was still developing and that health experts are continuing to investigate, calling the matter “truly disturbing.”
The New York State Department of Health is working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to understand the syndrome in children and will develop national criteria so other states can investigate their own possible cases, the governor said.
The state’s health department will also work with the Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA study to better understand who is affected.
“This is the last thing we need. … We still have a lot to learn about this virus and every day is another eye-opening situation,” Cuomo said.
He also updated the public on the rate of positive antibodies among frontline workers
Of the FDNY and EMT workers that were part of an antibody study, 17% tested positive, according to Cuomo. It was the highest positive rate among frontline workers. The rate was 14% for transit workers, 12% for healthcare workers and 10% for the NYPD, according to Cuomo.
All of the positive antibody rates in frontline workers fell below the city’s overall positive antibody rate, which is 19%.