“As numbers of COVID cases in the country increased dramatically this winter, so did hospitalizations, severe illness, and cases in children and subsequently we saw an increase in MIS-C, or this post-inflammatory response to exposure to COVID-19,” explains Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics. While the rise in cases is proportional to spikes of COVID-19 and that offers context, it’s no less worrying to parents. But Altmann assures them that severe cases are rare. “With early identification and treatment, most children are doing fine,” she says.
Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, a rare but serious illness linked to coronavirus, first emerged last spring, marking a critical turning point for the widely held understanding of the coronavirus and its impact on children. Now, there is renewed concern around the mysterious affliction (which was first reported in the U.K. and began appearing in and around New York City in May 2020) following the tragic death of 15-year-old Braden Wilson of Simi Valley, California, who is one of the 30 children who have died from the condition in the U.S. since the pandemic began. According to the The New York Times, doctors across the country have been seeing a striking increase in the number of young people with multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children, also known as MIS-C, with more patients experiencing severe symptoms than during the first wave of cases.
As multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children continues to be a factor in policy deliberations around school reopenings, gaining a better understanding of the risk is currently top of mind for parents. Here, doctors answer frequently asked questions using the knowledge they have now.
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