Speed Reads

this is scary

Children are seeing more severe coronavirus-induced illnesses, and doctors aren't sure why

COVID-19 has left most children physically unharmed as it continues to sweep the U.S. But a rare illness that so far has only affected a small number of children is seemingly growing more common — and more severe, The New York Times reports.

When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, scientists discovered that it could induce what they called Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recorded 2,060 cases of the illness so far, affecting everyone from infants to 20-year-olds; Black and Latino children account for 69 percent of cases. And like many doctors across the country, Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, chief of infectious diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., told the Times that cases are increasing and growing more severe. Early in the pandemic, about half of patients with MIS-C ended up needing intensive care, but that has increased to 80 or 90 percent, DeBiasi said.

Initial symptoms of MIS-C include fever, rash, red eyes, or gastrointestinal problems — a common set of issues that could indicate a number of illnesses, leading pediatricians to sometimes overlook MIS-C as a diagnosis. But the illness can soon progress to severe cardiovascular issues. So far, most children have gone home healthy after fighting off the disease. But like with COVID-19, doctors aren't sure how it'll affect them in the long term.

It's also unclear why cases are spiking. A post-holiday surge may account for the rise in MIS-C case counts, but scientists so far can't attribute variants or any other explanation to the increased severity. Read more at The New York Times.