Governor Cuomo announced Saturday that a total of three children have now died from a mysterious COVID-related illness, a development the state is now making a top priority.

Symptoms of the condition, which include prolonged fever, rash and severe abdominal pain, resemble a rare illness called Kawasaki disease, and at times bear the markings of toxic shock syndrome. The phenomenon has come to light only in recent days. Friday, Cuomo announced the first known death; a five-year-old boy hospitalized in New York City, and said other deaths are being investigated. There are 73 known cases in New York, he said.




Saturday, he said the Centers for Disease Control have asked the state to develop national criteria for identifying and responding to the syndrome. The state is also partnering with the New York Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct genetic research into the condition.

“Rest assured the Department of Health is on top of it,” he said. “This is the last thing that we need at this time.”



Cuomo also announced 24 new testing sites at churches in predominantly minority neighborhoods, which he said are being disproportionately affected by the virus. Of 21 zip codes with the most new coronavirus hospitalizations, 20 have higher-than-average black and/or Latino populations, he said.

“The cruel irony is the poorest people pay the higher price,” Cuomo said. “We saw the same thing with Hurricane Katrina.”

Cuomo also said some of the city's front-line essential workers appear to be contracting the virus at rates lower than the general population. Tests of 1,300 transit workers found a 14.2% infection rate, versus 19.9% citywide. Health care workers (12%) and members of the NYPD (11%) and FDNY (17%) also tested below the baseline.

Continuing a recent trend, COVID-19 deaths continue at an “infuriatingly constant” rate, Cuomo said, even as other indicators trend in the right direction. There were 226 deaths yesterday, a total that has essentially remained steady the past six days.

Overall hospitalizations, intubations, and new hospitalizations continue to decline, with just 572 new coronavirus patients at the state’s hospitals yesterday.

Statewide, there are now 177,481 confirmed coronavirus cases.

44,256 of those cases are hospitalized.

There have been 14,482 confirmed deaths since the outbreak began.



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