Maeson Howard, a formerly healthy 10-year-old California boy, has been critically ill for weeks with a rare syndrome that doctors believe is linked to COVID-19. Family members aren't sure how he became ill—but they are pleading for visitors to stay away from South Lake Tahoe. The boy's father, Corley Howard, has written to lawmakers urging them to limit traffic to the area. The resort town can attract tens of thousands of visitors on summer weekends, and Howard says every vacation rental in his neighborhood is hosting people from out of town. "I get it, we chose to live in a tourist town, but the timing is not right," he says, per the Tahoe Daily Tribune. "The numbers don’t really show what’s going on. It doesn’t seem like the right time to be putting people on boats and campgrounds."
Doctors believe Maeson, who is being treated at UC Davis Children's Hospital, is suffering from "multisystem inflammatory syndrome," a rare condition that has been observed in children with COVID-19, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. He started feeling sick on July 28 and was hospitalized four days later with symptoms including a high fever and vomiting, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up to help the family. City officials say they are keeping a "close eye" on the influx of visitors, but Howard, who says his family practiced mask-wearing and social distancing, has urged officials to do more to limit arrivals. "People should think twice about packing the family in the camper and coming up here, because I don’t think it’s that safe," says Howard, per KCRA. (Read more coronavirus stories.)