New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that 73 children in the state have contracted a rare inflammatory illness that is possibly linked to COVID-19. The governor also confirmed a 5-year-old from New York City died Thursday from the condition, which doctors call "pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome."

According to NBC News, nearly 100 kids have been diagnosed with the illness in at least eight states: New York, New Jersey, California, Washington, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. Cases in Washington, D.C., have also been reported. Officials say many of the children who've been diagnosed with the syndrome had previously contracted coronavirus. Doctors said most of these kids did not start exhibiting symptoms associated with pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome until a month after they were exposed to COVID-19.

The New York State Department of Health has released an advisory about the illness and has urged parents to seek medical care if their child begins experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Prolonged fever (more than five days)
  • Difficulty feeding (infants) or is too sick to drink fluids
  • Severe abdominal pain, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Change in skin color - becoming pale, patchy and/or blue
  • Trouble breathing or is breathing very quickly
  • Racing heart or chest pain
  • Decreased amount of frequency in urine
  • Lethargy, irritability or confusion

New York state officials are investigating whether any other children have died from the illness. 

"There's still so much we don't know about COVID-19, and in the beginning, we were led to believe that the good news about this virus was it didn't affect children," Gov. Cuomo said. "Now we have a new issue that we're looking at where some children affected with the COVID-19 virus are becoming ill with symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease or toxic shock-like syndrome. This would be really painful news and would open up an entirely different chapter in our fight against this virus, and the State Department of Health is currently investigating these cases to learn more. In the meantime, we are cautioning all people to look out for the symptoms of this serious illness and to seek help immediately if your child is sick."

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