Cuomo: 3 kids have died in New York of illness linked to virus

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that three children in the state have died of illnesses linked to the coronavirus.

Video Transcript

ANDREW CUOMO: But we were laboring under the impression that young people were not affected by COVID-19. And that was actually good news, right? The vulnerable populations were older people, people with co-morbidities. But one of the few rays of good news was young people weren't affected.

We're not so sure that that is the fact anymore. Toddler, elementary school children are presenting symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. Now, these are children who come in who don't present the symptoms that we normally are familiar with COVID.

It's not a respiratory illness. They're not in respiratory distress. And I think that's one of the reasons why this may be getting discovered this far into the process. It's more an inflammation-- inflammation of the blood vessels, which can then cause problems with their heart.

And there are 73 cases that the Department of Health, Dr. Zucker, is now studying. But the illness has taken the lives of three young New Yorkers. So this is new, and it's developing. The Department of Health has communicated with the federal officials, the CDC, and the CDC has asked New York to develop national criteria for this, so that other states, other hospital systems can also be checking into this and looking into this.

Again, as it turns out, these children happen to have the COVID antibodies, or be positive for COVID. But those were not the symptoms they showed when they came in to the hospital system. So it's still very much a situation that is developing. But it is a serious situation.

The Department of Health is also going to be working with the New York Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to see there is something about these children that may present a definable situation. But rest assured, the Department of Health is on top of it.

This is the last thing that 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 or not their youngster was infected. And again, symptoms that don't even seem like the symptoms we associate with COVID-19. So we still have a lot to learn about this virus, and every day is another eye opening situation.