NEWS
15/05/2020 4:10 PM AEST

CDC Issues Alert About COVID-19 Illness In Children As Trump Presses To Open Schools

Cases of the syndrome among children are rising. Symptoms include fever, inflammation and organ damage, health experts say, and it can be lethal.

See the latest stories on the coronavirus outbreak.  

Surging cases of a mysterious illness in children linked to COVID-19 has triggered an alert by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to warn physicians what to look out for.

Seventeen states have reported cases of what’s now labeled multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which can affect several organs and has been fatal in rare instances. New York has reported 102 cases. Three of the children died, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday.

There’s also growing alarm across Europe about the cases. Paris scientists noted a 20-fold increase in the illness similar to Kawasaki disease in children, 82% who had contracted COVID-19. Italy has reported a 30-fold hike. The CDC alert also noted a study of recent cases in Britain.

The troubling news comes as President Donald Trump is pushing for schools to reopen. On Wednesday, Trump criticised health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci’s warning Tuesday against reopening schools too quickly as he noted the troubling COVID-19 complications for children. Trump called Fauci’s advice “not an acceptable answer” and urged that “all schools open as soon as possible.”

The CDC alert urges physicians seeing instances of the inflammatory syndrome to report them to local departments so cases, treatments and outcomes can be tracked. Children with the disease have had persistent fever and a variety of other symptoms, including low blood pressure, multi-organ complications and inflammation, the CDC alert said. 

“The children who get sick with this can have cardiovascular collapse and require supportive measures to maintain their blood pressure, or respiratory collapse requiring breathing support with a mechanical ventilator,” Kentucky Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack told CNN earlier this week.

During Fauci’s testimony Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions, Senator Rand Paul derided the health expert as not the “end all” of coronavirus advice. Paul noted that the illness didn’t seem to be a big deal for children.

Fauci replied: “I have never made myself out to be the end all and only voice in this. I’m a scientist, a physician and a public health official. I give advice according to the best scientific evidence.” He noted he leaves economic advice to others.

He then warned of the troubling information about the “strange inflammatory syndrome” among children with COVID-19 and cautioned that there is still much unknown about the coronavirus. 

“I think we better be careful, if we are not cavalier, in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects,” Fauci said.

(Check out the comments by Rand and Fauci below.)