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Cuomo: Severe Covid-linked illness kills 3 children in New York State

A disturbing, severe illness apparently connected to Covid-19 has claimed the lives of three children in New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Saturday.

'This is the last thing that we need at this time, with all that's going on with all the anxiety we have," he said at his daily press briefing.

The governor said the state Health Department is investigating 73 cases of the illness, which involves symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome. It is affecting toddler and elementary school age children, he said.

These children don't come in for medical visits presenting with novel coronavirus disease symptoms doctors expect, Cuomo said. They don't seem to have a respiratory illness, but more of an inflammation of blood vessels that can then cause heart problems.

Still, he said, the children either have Covid-19 antibodies or test positive for the virus.

"It's still very much a situation that is developing, but it is a serious situation," Cuomo said.

Symptoms include prolonged fever for more than five days. Infants develop difficulty feeding, while older children are too sick to drink fluids. Other symptoms include severe abdominal pain; diarrhea or vomiting; change in skin color to pale, patchy and/or blue; trouble breathing or breathing very quickly; racing heart or chest pain; decreased amount or frequency in urine; and lethargy, irritability or confusion.

"It is very possible this has been going on for several weeks and it hasn't been diagnosed as it relates to Covid," the governor said.

Doctors in the United Kingdom have reported a possible link to pediatric Covid-19 cases and the serious illness, according to the state Department of Health.

The governor said New York State is helping develop the national criteria for the illness.

Cuomo said the 572 new hospitalizations Friday due to Covid-19 is the lowest number since March 21. He announced another 226 people died from the virus, the same number as five days ago.  The total number of New Yorkers who have died from the virus is 21,271.

Cuomo called the number of deaths "heartbreaking," and said the number of deaths per day has been "infuriatingly constant."

"We would like to see that number dropping at a far faster rate," he said.

On the subject of opening up, particularly for those businesses that rely on the summer season, the governor acknowledged how important tourism is to small businesses.

"The tourism season is the money-making period for a whole sector of business, all across the state," he said. "Tourism is one of the big job drivers, period. All those camps, all those lakes, so it's a very big deal all across the board.

"We take this week by week. I hope we're in a better position. That's why we watch the numbers."

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