Recent reports that SARS-CoV-2 can cause serious life-threatening disease in young people is not good news. A few cases of a Kawasaki-like vascular inflammation in kids age 2-15 were previously noted. As more cases have been identified, more than 100 in New York State alone, this aspect of the disease is coming into focus.
The syndrome, now called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome, appears to be a late sequela of infection in young people appearing anywhere from a week post first symptoms to at least as long as five weeks. Critical symptoms include high fever of 102-103 degrees, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and a rash (localized or whole body). Should these symptoms appear, regardless of prior disease or even known exposure, the child should be taken to the emergency room immediately for evaluation. The syndrome can be accompanied by heart disease, including cardiac arrest and aneurisms that can be life threatening. The disease has been described as a combination of Kawasaki-like symptoms and toxic shock, a syndrome which became familiar to many because of its association with tampon use.
Previously, it was thought that children were mostly spared the ravages of this pandemic. But it seems they too are also at risk. There is no silver lining to this news. Our only hope is that this development may change calculus of premature reopening. Our churn are not spared the dangers of COVID. While some may have been willing to trade the life of the elderly for economic and electoral success, I doubt that few, if any, feel the same way about our children and our grandchildren.