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Two children in New York have died from severe illness linked to coronavirus

Cuomo urges vigilance about symptoms in kids
Cuomo urges vigilance about symptoms in kids 02:28

A 5-year-old boy in New York has become the second person in the state to die from a mysterious illness believed to be connected to the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday. Cuomo said 73 children in New York have been severely ill and urged vigilance. 

"While rare, we're seeing some cases where children affected with the COVID virus can become ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome that literally causes inflammation in their blood vessels," Cuomo said Friday. "This is every parent's nightmare, right? That your child may actually be affected by this virus. But it's something that we have to consider seriously now."

CBS New York reports that a young boy died late last week in Westchester County after suffering from neurological complications from what's now called pediatric multi-symptom inflammatory syndrome. The boy tested positive for coronavirus antibodies, indicating he contracted the virus at some point.

The syndrome is thought to be related to Kawasaki disease, a rare but serious illness previously noted in children with COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. New York's health department is now investigating the cases.

CBS News has learned that the CDC is investigating the disease. 

Cuomo urged people who believed children could not be affected by the coronavirus to take the news to heart. "We may want to revisit that quote-unquote fact, that assumption," he said.

At least five of the country's roughly 100 confirmed cases are in Chicago, including 10-year-old Joshua Smith, who was in the ICU for a week. Smith's mom, Lagwena, who recently recovered from coronavirus, has been sleeping at the hospital with him. It's not clear when Smith will be released, but he's improving. 

"It's hard," Smith's mother told CBS News. "But I couldn't imagine my life without my child, so I'm grateful." 

Earlier this week, after 15 children were hospitalized with a rare condition, Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, deputy commissioner of the New York City Health Department's Division of Disease Control, said in a letter that while symptoms varied among the children depending on which organ system is affected, all showed "features of Kawasaki disease or features of shock." 

According to Daskalakis, all the children experienced a persistent fever, more than half reported rash, abdominal pain, vomiting or diarrhea, and less than half experienced respiratory symptoms. 

Adriana Diaz contributed reporting. 

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