The condition, which has also shown up in children in Europe, shares symptoms with Kawasaki disease, a rare and puzzling pediatric illness involving inflammation of the blood vessels. But many of the children have gone into shock — a complication not usually associated with Kawasaki disease.
Some doctors suspect that what they are seeing is a massive, harmful overreaction to Covid-19 by the body’s immune system, an indication that the virus’s risk to children may be greater than anticipated. While none of the children have died, some have needed ventilators.
New York City’s health department put out a bulletin on Monday warning health care providers and parents to keep an eye out for the symptoms, which include fever, a rash, reddened tongues, vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors in Britain, Italy and Spain have also been warned to look out for the condition in children.
Can children spread the virus? Contrary to popular belief, the answer seems to be yes. Fewer children than adults catch the virus, and their cases tend to be mild. But two new studies suggest that they can transmit the infection just as readily, in part because they tend to have many more contacts in a day, especially at school.
They suggest opening one district’s schools for a couple of weeks with half the usual number of students and six-foot social distancing, while a neighboring district stays closed. All students and teachers would be tested for the virus beforehand and afterward.
If transmission didn’t increase in the reopened schools, the trial would be repeated with more students and less distance each time, until, with luck, the schools could reopen normally.
The virus task force’s days may be numbered
The White House is planning to wind down its coronavirus task force in the next few weeks, even though the pandemic continues to rage in the U.S.
“We’re having conversations about that, and about what the proper time is for the task force to complete its work,” Vice President Mike Pence said on Monday. He added that the panel may shut down by early June.
It is not clear what, if anything, would replace it. A group led by Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, that has been acting as something of a shadow task force is likely to continue.
Mr. Trump has often brushed aside his task force’s advice, and many states are defying its recommendations about when it would be safe to reopen. The panel’s meetings were canceled on Saturday and Monday, and Mr. Trump has stopped arraying its members around him at public appearances.
Even so, the task force has been the closest thing the White House had to a coordinated national response to the pandemic. Disbanding would probably intensify the widespread questions about the administration’s handling of the crisis.
How the pandemic looks from one neighborhood street
Illness, financial strain and rising tension: A journey down several blocks in Hazleton, Pa., tells the story of the virus in America, our reporter Michael Powell writes.
The virus spread quickly among the area’s residents, many of whom work shoulder to shoulder in factories and warehouses for Amazon, Tootsie Roll, American Eagle or Auto Zone that have stayed open. Life in working-class Hazleton is often lived on a thin economic margin, and many people had to go on working even as co-workers fell ill and some took the virus home with them.
Rafael Benjamin, a good-natured man who rarely missed a day of work, had a job at a Cargill plant that packages meat in plastic wrap. He was six days away from retirement when he fell ill.
“Seventeen years he worked there, ready for retirement, and now he’s dead,” his son Larry said. “The virus took him away.”
What you can do
Watch something new. With productions on hold, TV writers have become TV watchers. We asked 11 of them which shows they are bingeing.
Listen. When much of your life is effectively on pause, it’s a good opportunity to listen to those who are close to you — and those you wish were closer.
What you’re doing
I uncovered a box of family photographs and have been digitizing the oldest and most fragile, sending the images to my siblings who I haven’t seen for months. Some of the photographs date back to the mid 19th century. We identify the people in the pictures and share stories. This has led me to start working on a family tree.
— Cathy Rosa Klimaszewski, Groton, N.Y.
Let us know how you’re dealing with the outbreak. Send us a response here, and we may feature it in an upcoming newsletter.