A young child in Wisconsin under the age of ten years old has died of Covid-related Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), the first of this sort of death in America.
The condition is tied to ‘long Covid’, the mysterious phenomenon where a person feels symptoms of the virus long after recovering from it.
Experts believe MIS-C is an immune response to the virus, where certain areas of the body will become inflamed in an effort to combat it. Long Covid, and MIS-C, occur when the body continues this inflammation over a longer period of time.
In total, 60 U.S. deaths have been tied to MIS-C, making mortality extremely rare from the conditions that plagues nearly 7,000 Americans. This is also the first death recorded by a child.
Wisconsin reported the first pediatric death from MIS-C in America over the weekend. The condition, often a result of ‘long Covid’ has been linked to 60 U.S. deaths (file photo)
State health officials announced the death over the weekend, reporting the child was from the southeastern region of the state but declining to provide information on the child’s gender or the exact date of death, just that it occurred within the past month.
The only identifying information provided was that the child is under ten years old.
Wisconsin has recorded 183 cases of the condition total, with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting that 33 of those cases have been logged since the start of the new year.
The sudden surge of MIS-C cases in the new year is likely tied to the massive surge of the virus caused by the Omicron variant this winter.
Experts have warned that, while the highly infectious variant is fairly mild, it opens up everyone it infects to potentially developing long Covid.
Cases of long Covid can materialize in a variety of ways. MIS-C and other potential neurological issues are often the most serious.
Among the most common is anosmia, a condition where someone loses their sense of smell, which can degrade a person’s quality of life but is not particularly debilitating.
Millions of people were infected with Covid over the past few months alone, as the Omicron variant rampantly spread through the U.S. population.
Cases peaked at around 800,000 per day in mid-January, which may only be a third of real figures because of testing shortages and a high level of asymptomatic cases.
‘Long Covid’ is more likely to show up in people who suffered mild cases of the virus, and the less severe nature of the Omicron variant may have set the stage for a surge of MIS-C, anosmia, and more.
‘This will be a problem for society going forward… its hard for people to understand,’ Dr Leonard Jason, a psychology professor at DePaul University told DailyMail.com about a future surge of long Covid last month.
Children do not seem to be at as high a risk of developing the condition as adults, but cases still are found. An adult who contracts Covid is anywhere from ten to 10 percent likely to develop ‘long Covid’ symptoms.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study from last year found that cases only appear in around two to three percent of children that recover from Covid.
Dr Katharine Clouser is a hospital pediatrician from Hackensack, New Jersey, and her team at Hackensack Meridian Health are operating one of the few pediatric Covid recovery centers in the state.
She told DailyMail.com last year that while rare, long Covid can be devastating to some children.
‘Kids typically bounce back from illnesses really well – [they] get the flu, [they] play soccer next week,’ she said.
‘For some reason, this one is really having a bad effect on the body. It’s really affecting many body cells, the lungs, the muscles, the stomach, everything.
‘And so I see kids are just becoming deconditioned. They spend so much time in bed, they spend so much time in a hospital bed and they’ve never been out of school before.
‘They’ve never been anxious about school before and all of a sudden, now they are and they’re just having a harder time bouncing back.’
Children overall do not face much of a risk from the infection itself, though, as around half of pediatric Covid cases are asymptomatic and they account for less that 0.1 percent of America’s deaths from the virus.