Initial research suggests that kids don't seem to be as hard hit by the coronavirus as adults are, but a group of children hospitalized in New York City underscores that there's much we still don't know. Per CNN, a Monday alert issued by the city's health department cites 15 cases of kids, ages 2 to 15, who showed up in pediatric ICUs during the last two weeks of April with symptoms "compatible with multi-system inflammatory syndrome." Symptoms among these kids included "persistent fever," as well as features akin to those found in sufferers of Kawasaki disease, which causes inflammation of the arteries, and toxic shock syndrome. Most of the kids documented in the alert were found to have tested positive for COVID-19 or for antibodies indicating they'd already had the disease. Although at least five of the kids needed to be put on ventilators, no deaths among this group were reported.
NBC New York adds to this "alarming new information" with reports from multiple NYC-area children's hospitals citing similar cases. The NYC alert notes cases have also been observed "elsewhere in the United States," while cases involving kids in the UK, Italy, and Spain have emerged as well, with doctors there still trying to determine if the observed symptoms were caused by the coronavirus or something else. Per the New York Times, NYC's health chief says in a statement that doctors should contact the city if they see anything similar in young patients they treat, and warns parents to be on the lookout for such symptoms as fever, abdominal issues, rash, or vomiting. A local pediatric critical care director says his hospital has also noted symptoms such as conjunctivitis, cracked lips, and diarrhea. New York State's health commissioner says the state is investigating. (Read more New York City stories.)