May 5, 2020 By Allie Griffin
An otherwise healthy 8-year-old from Richmond Hill suffered heart failure and was placed on a ventilator in an intensive care unit last week— with coronavirus believed to be the culprit, according to a news report.
Jayden Hardowar, who is now recovering and is expected to survive, first came down with a fever and diarrhea in late April — then, within five days, he was intubated on a ventilator in the ICU at Cohen Children’s Hospital after suffering cardiac arrest, NBC New York reported.
No one within his family was known to have the virus, but doctors confirmed Hardowar had contracted COVID-19 after conducting an antibody test, according to the outlet. Hardowar did not have any pre-existing conditions.
His mother found the boy unresponsive in bed with blue lips last Wednesday and called 911. An ambulance rushed him to Jamaica Hospital before he was transferred to Cohen Children’s Hospital in Long Island, Hardowar’s parents told NBC.
Hardowar is one of more than a dozen children who have had similar complications across the city. In such cases, the virus causes inflammation that can send the body into a state of shock and cause organ failure, doctors and health experts said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the Health Department had confirmed an additional 15 cases similar to Hardowar.
Four of the 15 have tested positive for COVID-19 and six have the antibodies for the virus, de Blasio said.
The new cases contradict earlier beliefs that the virus largely fails to affect children.
“In general we know as we’ve dealt with the coronavirus that we have not seen the same kind of impact on young people that we see on older people, particularly much older people. But something’s happened the last few days, that’s beginning to concern our Health Department,” de Blasio said of the new developments.
Health experts said the complications in children linked to COVID-19 are similar to symptoms of toxic shock syndrome or Kawasaki disease, an autoimmune illness caused by viral infections that can lead to heart damage if it’s not identified and treated early on.
“We are learning that even though children by and large are mildly affected when it comes to COVID-19 that there can be situations where they are more severely affected,” the City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot said.
The complications like those experienced by Hardowar are still rare, Barbot said. However, similar cases have been found in the United Kingdom, as well as Boston and Philadelphia, she said.
Still, the NYC Health Department issued an alert Monday night asking health providers to report any patients under 21 with similar inflammatory syndromes.
De Blasio said parents should call their child’s doctor immediately if their child has persistent fever, a rash, abdominal pain and vomiting.
“If your children are experiencing these symptoms, particularly in combination, call your doctor right away,” he said. “We want to make sure that if a child is dealing with this reality, they get the support that they need.”
Other symptoms can include red eyes, brightly colored lips and tongues and swelling of the hands and feet, Barbot said.
“Generally if the condition is identified early there is definitive treatment, and there are typically no long-term consequences,” Barbot said.