New syndrome in kids could change fate of schools reopening in fall, Cuomo says


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NEW YORK — The growing number of New York children diagnosed with a serious inflammatory syndrome possibly connected to COVID-19 may impact whether schools reopen in the fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Health officials are investigating more than 120 cases of pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome in New York, according to the governor.

“This is a syndrome that we are only just discovering,” Cuomo said. “I think the numbers are going to be much, much higher.”

The illness, which causes the inflammation of blood vessels, has been identified in children across 16 states and at least five countries, according to Cuomo. At least three children have died in New York, health officials have said.

Symptoms of PMIS include a persistent fever, rash, abdominal pain and vomiting. Parents should call their pediatrician immediately if their children exhibit symptoms.

“We were told children were not affected and we were operating on that basis,” Cuomo said. “If you now change your facts again and say children may be affected … that’s a different set of facts. So respond to the facts.”

When asked if this new syndrome could influence whether schools reopen in the fall, Cuomo said, “You’re exactly right,” however he also cautioned the next academic year is still “a lifetime away as far as we’re concerned at this rate.”

The question arose Sunday while Cuomo and state officials were discussing the fate of summer camps.

Officials had initially been working on guidance for summer camps as the remote school year winds down, however, with the growing prevalence of PMIS officials are now reviewing those guidelines.

“Other states around us were also looking to open summer camps. They’ve also slowed down that process,” state budget director Robert Mujica said. “As far as camps with people sleeping away, how you would do that in the context of the new cases, we’re re-looking at that.”

Parents can expect updated guidance from the state before most camps open at the end of June.

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