This is our daily update of breaking COVID-19 news for Wednesday, May 13th, 2020. Previous daily updates can be found here, and up-to-date statistics are here.
Read our guide to understanding New York on PAUSE, NY's stay-at-home order; a look at preparing for the spread of coronavirus is here, and if you have lingering questions about the virus, here is our regularly updated coronavirus FAQ. Here are some local and state hotlines for more information: NYC: 311; NY State Hotline: 888-364-3065; NJ State Hotline: 800-222-1222.
12:15 p.m. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that New York has learned that 14 other states have reported cases of children being sickened by a little understood illness associated with COVID-19.
In the absence of a national public health response, New York has taken the initiative to warn other states and learn about other cases in the U.S. The state Department of Health has sent a nationwide alert about the condition known as pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS) and also conducted a call with health officials in other states.
On Monday, at the request of New York officials, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deployed a team to investigate the cases in the state.
There is currently no official number on the total confirmed number of PMIS cases in the U.S.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post published an op-ed about the damage of the virus on poor children written by Dr. Irwin Redlener, who directs the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Earth Institute and his wife Karen Redlener, a co-founder of Children’s Health Fund.
"While data are not yet published, we spoke with pediatricians in Detroit, San Francisco and New York and have concluded that hundreds of children have been admitted to hospitals with this condition across the United States, and at least five of these patients have died," they wrote.
New York State now has at least 102 cases, two more than the prior day. Of them, 60 percent tested positive for coronavirus, while 40 percent tested positive for antibodies, suggesting a previous infection. (14 percent tested positive for both.) Three children in the state have died.
"This is a parent's worst nightmare," Cuomo said, during a press briefing in Watertown. "We’re still finding out more about it."
While the numbers are still relatively small compared to the broader coronavirus outbreak, the occurrence in other states suggests the impact on children is more serious than experts originally predicted. Of the patients in New York state, 71 percent have been admitted into intensive care units.
The syndrome has symptoms similar to toxic shock and Kawasaki disease. Parents are urged to call a doctor if their child exhibits prolonged fever, rash, red eyes, a swollen tongue, abdominal pain and vomiting.
NYC Reports 82 Cases Of Children With Covid-Linked Syndrome
10:30 a.m. Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that 82 children in New York City have been confirmed to have a potentially fatal inflammatory syndrome linked to coronavirus, an increase of 30 from the prior day.
To date, at least three children in the state have died from the illness, which is called pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome (PMIS). They include a 5-year-old boy in New York City, a 7-year-old in Westchester County and an 18-year-old girl in Long Island. Statewide, there are now more than 100 cases.
During his morning press briefing, the mayor urged parents to look out for symptoms, which include prolonged fever, rash, a swollen tongue, abdominal pain and vomiting.
"Your vigilance will make all the difference in this crisis," he said.
The city will launch a public service campaign in multiple languages beginning Wednesday that will include digital advertising in subways and bus shelters, newsstands and ethnic media outlets.
Although there have been cases in Europe, the city said they first heard of patients in New York City early this month. The city's health department issued its first alert on the condition on May 4th. Many of the children test positive for the virus or the antibodies. Patients have presented symptoms similar with toxic shock syndrome as well as Kawasaki disease.
On Tuesday, the state Department of Health issued a notably expanded list of symptoms that included changes in skin color, lethargy, and decreased urine.
Dr. Adam Ratner, the director of pediatric infectious diseases at the NYU Langone Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, told Gothamist that given that the illness is still not well understood, health officials are trying to "cast a very wide net."
"I don’t know that there’s anybody that’s an expert on this," he said. "We are still learning as we go."
Twitter Allows Employees To Work From Home "Forever"
Twitter on Tuesday announced that it would allow employees to continue working from home for as long as they wanted in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere," wrote Jennifer Christie, a vice president of human resources at the company. "The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen."
The decision by the social media giant immediately drew attention as a possible game-changing workplace policy that could have repercussions on commercial real estate and the food and services that cater to office workers. The coronavirus crisis has caused companies around the world to rethink the value of having large numbers of employees under one roof.
Jes Staley, the CEO of Barclays, one of Britain's biggest banks, recently said to reporters, "The notion of putting 7,000 people in a building may be a thing of the past."
About 400 employees work at Twitter's office in Manhattan, the company's second-largest after its San Francisco headquarters.
The company said that "with very few exceptions," its offices will not reopen before September. In-person company events have been canceled for the rest of 2020.
Both Google and Facebook have decided to allow employees to work from home through the end of the year. All of the big tech firms, including Apple and Amazon, have been carving out a significant office presence in New York City, setting off bidding wars for prime real estate. Facebook last year inked a deal for 1.5 million square feet at Hudson Yards. After canceling its plans to build a Long Island City for a new office campus, Amazon signed a lease late last year for 335,000 square feet in the Hudson Yards neighborhood. Google is in the midst of a $1 billion expansion on Manhattan's West Side.
Taken together, the companies are expected to have about 20,000 employees in New York City by 2022.