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New York's rising cases of mystery illness in children are "tip of the iceberg," Cuomo says

Mystery illness in children is "tip of the iceberg"
Mystery illness in children is "tip of the iceberg," Cuomo says 01:47

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that the state has now confirmed 137 cases of a mystery illness in children connected to COVID-19. Cuomo said he believes the state's discovery is just the "tip of the iceberg" for the illness dubbed Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, or PMIS.

"The more states that look, the more that find cases," Cuomo said at his daily briefing. "We've given the nation and the world a heads up."

According to the governor, 90% of the children found with PMIS in New York have either tested positive for the coronavirus or its antibodies.

The syndrome presents a wide range of symptoms, such as fever, abdominal pain and rash, caused by inflammation. It was not initially connected to COVID-19 because it does not appear to cause respiratory symptoms — a telltale sign of the coronavirus, according to Cuomo.

The governor did not say how children contracted the virus, which was originally thought to largely spare young people, but urged residents to remain vigilant about masks and social distancing around all age groups and activities. The governor noted that the majority of new COVID-19 cases have been reported in people who are at not working outside their home: "That's why the personal behavior is so important," he said.

New York allowing small ceremonies on Memorial Day 01:14

Western New York has begun reopening its economy, as it has met coronavirus containment goals outlined in the state's Regional Monitoring Dashboard. Hospitals in the region will be able to schedule elective surgeries, but gatherings such as church services and sports events will still be banned, Cuomo said.

The region joins Central New York, North Country, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley Regions in reopening.

All regions are required to meet seven categories of numerical criteria before reopening. New York City had met four out seven of the criteria last week, but fell behind this week and now only meets three. It has yet to lower its rate of new hospitalizations below two per 100,000 residents, meet the 30% threshold of available total hospital beds and ICU beds, or meet the goal of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents.

The governor said 105 people died of COVID-19 statewide on Monday, down from 106 on Sunday, the lowest number since March 26. Cuomo's own COVID-19 test, taken at his daily briefing on Sunday, was negative, he said.

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