If you thought that your children had little chance of being infected by the coronavirus, you might want to think again. Disturbing new developments have surfaced linking kids with COVID-19, but with symptoms similar to a virus known as Kawasaki disease.

This new illness is called “pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.” Medical experts believe that this condition targets children who may have come in contact with COVID-19 as long as a month prior, but did not become physically sick. Simply put, it causes the immune system to over react and create an inflammation of blood vessels leading to the heart and other vital organs. In almost every case, these patients after being hospitalized tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies in their system.

Thus far, there have been only about 225 documented cases of this new virus strain exclusively among kids, with three deaths. Most of the children reside in New York, the original epicenter for the coronavirus. It seems to be spreading however, as 19 other states including California have reported gravely ill patients, many who went into cardiac arrest. The signs to watch for are escalating high fever, sluggishness and unusual fatigue, rashes, sores on the tongue, bloodshot eyes, acute stomach pain and severe diarrhea. Unlike COVID, this is not a respiratory disease that attacks the lungs but rather other organs, primarily the heart.

Infectious disease czar Dr. Anthony Fauci warned us this week in testimony to the senate that just because children have escaped the blunt of the coronavirus, parents need to remain vigilant.

“We have to be very careful , because the more and more we learn, we’re seeing what this virus can do,” says the 79 year old scientist and physician. ” We can’t be too cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to this this disease.”

To that point, Fauci and other experts aren’t completely sold on our youngsters going back to school in the fall instead of continuing their studies online. What we know for certain is that in both adults and children, the probability of being sickened by COVID-19 and its offshoot viruses is much greater among people of color. The reasons for that vary, but the lack of medical services in minority communities are part of the equation. The lack of valid insurance is also a contributing factor, especially with so many folks currently out of work. But while this new strain of the virus is rare, it can be deadly if not treated immediately.

With schools restructuring and a long hot summer ahead, lots of families are hurting economically, especially kids who are no longer receiving breakfast and lunch as part of their daily scholastic routine. An excellent source of help is a national non-profit called Meals To You. If your children were eligible for the National School Lunch Program, they will qualify for this service and boxed up meals will be shipped directly to your home. These emergency meals are available in most states, including Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in the southwest. California does not yet participate, but could in the future. For more information and to sign up for the program, log onto MealsToYou.com.

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