Cuomo Warns of New Virus Risk as Three Children Die


(Bloomberg) -- Andrew Cuomo raised a warning that young patients are becoming seriously ill and three have died, after testing positive for Covid-19 and developing unconventional and dangerous symptoms.

The New York governor on Saturday said 73 children are now being treated for these conditions. A five-year-old died in New York City, a seven-year-old in Westchester County and a teenager in Suffolk County on Long Island, the state reported.

“We still have a lot to learn about this virus,” Cuomo told reporters during a briefing in New York City. “And every day is another eye-opening situation.”

The governor reported 226 more deaths in New York, the center of the U.S. outbreak, even as new cases and hospitalizations in the state have dropped to the lowest since March. Daily deaths have remained steady for over a week, in the 200s. Total deaths exceed 21,000.

“That number has been infuriatingly constant,” Cuomo said. “We would like to see that number dropping at a far faster rate.”

Cuomo highlighted the risk to children, which has been reported more frequently in recent days. In late April, the U.K. issued a warning of symptoms in children similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock syndrome, which include abdominal pain, gastrointestinal problems and cardiac inflammation.

“It is a serious situation,” Cuomo said. “This is the last thing we need at this time -- with all that’s going on, with all the anxiety we have -- now, for parents to have to worry about whether their youngster was affected.”

He said New York would cooperate with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop “national criteria” for identifying Covid-related illnesses in children. It will also work with Rockfeller University to better understand any genetic basis for the illness.

The governor’s office listed possible symptoms that require immediate medical attention. Those include: fever that exceed five days; infants too sick to drink fluids; severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting; change in skin color; trouble breathing; chest pain.

Cuomo repeated his plea for federal funding to assist states whose budgets have been decimated by the pandemic, a step that Republicans in Washington have opposed. President Donald Trump said on Friday he was in “no rush” to produce a new aid package that would help states.

The Democratic governor said the toll has been high, economically as well as emotionally, with mental health issues, domestic violence, substance abuse all rising.

“If it works the way it should, Washington and the federal government actually do the right thing,” he said. “How could they possibly ignore state governments, working families, working Americans? As bizarre as the federal government is at times, I cannot believe they would turn their back on working Americans at this time.”

The state reported another 2,715 virus cases on Saturday, for a total of 333,122.

New York remains officially in lockdown until Friday, when Cuomo has said a phased-in reopening of economic activity will begin with construction and manufacturing in areas that have been less hard hit by illness -- chiefly upstate. On Saturday, he gave no indication when restrictions might be loosened in New York City or surrounding areas.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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