New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the state will reopen racecourses with no crowds, one day after he gave a chilling warning over the Kawasaki-like disease linked to COVID-19.
In a press briefing in Albany Saturday, Cuomo announced some new steps to safely reopen activities across the state.
Horse racing tracks will be allowed to reopen from June 1 without crowds so races can be broadcast on TV and the Watkins Glen International racetrack will also reopen.
‘We’re looking for economic activities that you can start without crowds and without gatherings – remember the problem here is crowds and gatherings so what economic activity is willing to open without a crowd?’ he asked.
In a press briefing in Albany Saturday, Cuomo announced some new steps to safely reopen activities across the state including reopening racecourses with no crowds
Horse racing tracks will be allowed to reopen from June 1 without crowds so races can be broadcast on TV and the Watkins Glen International racetrack (file picture) will also reopen
Cuomo suggested other sports, such as baseball, could also run events as long as they do not have fans in attendance.
‘In terms of sport you can have baseball without a crowd and it can be televised,’ he said.
However, when asked about the New York Mets and Yankees reopening, Cuomo admitted the decision does not rest with him.
‘One state can’t make that decision… but if it works [then] economically that would be great,’ he said.
Cuomo said reopening economic activities has the added benefit of encouraging people to stay home.
‘There’s lots of people sitting at home… staying home is easier if there’s some entertainment,’ he said.
‘So if you look at the risk-reward there’s a lot of reward for minimum risk.’
Elective surgeries can also resume in Westchester County and Suffolk County, including at Ambulatory Surgery Centers.
The announcements came Saturday as daily hospitalizations, new cases and intubations from COVID-19 continued on a downward trend in New York Friday.
Confirmed cases increased by 400 to reach 345,813 and another 157 people died, including 105 in hospitals and 53 nursing homes.
This takes the state death toll to 22,461.
Though the figures are going in the right direction, Cuomo warned New Yorkers that ‘we need to make sure we don’t go back to the hell we’ve gone through.’
This came a day after Cuomo sent out a chilling warning about the rising cases of the Kawasaki-like disease linked to COVID-19 among children.
The mystery illness, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has called multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), sees patients present symptoms similar to the Kawasaki disease.
Kawasaki is a condition that causes inflammation in the walls of the blood vessels and affects mostly children under five years old.
In New York there are more than a hundred cases, with at least three children – aged 5, 7 and 18 – dead from the condition.
Cuomo admitted in his Friday press briefing that he is ‘afraid’ that the US will ‘see more’ of the disease.
‘Right now it’s 103 cases in New York,’ he said. ‘I tell you what I’m afraid of – it’s not 103 cases in New York, it’s just that we have seen it first and it was deceptive the way it represented because for COVID they were all looking for respiratory illnesses.
‘And this is not a respiratory illness, this is an inflammation of the blood vessels.’
He said the syndrome did ‘not look or smell like’ coronavirus so it went undetected for some time.
‘It did not look or smell like a COVID case [then] when they went back and checked the overwhelming number of children tested positive or had the antibodies – close to like 90 percent either were positive or had the antibodies and I think you’re going to see more of this,’ he warned.
Cuomo gave a grave warning that as scientists discover more about coronavirus, they find out that it is more deadly than first thought.
When the virus first started spreading across the nation, it was thought that children were at a very low risk of dying from the virus.
Shocking images show the rare inflammatory disease on the six-month-old Californian girl believed to be one of the first to contract both COVID-19 and rare disease
‘There’s stories of other illnesses popping up and now they’re saying this COVID virus does more damage in the body than we were aware of but specifically with children,’ he said.
‘The reason I want this point abundantly clear is because this is not what we were told initially and this is not what I told people initially.
‘We were told it was primarily vulnerable people and the good news is that children seem unaffected and that then gave me a false sense of security.’
The governor admitted that ‘we were wrong about that’ and branded it a ‘big about-face’.
He also pointed to the growing uncertainty about people becoming immune to the deadly virus.
‘It was also an about-face if you have the virus and you have the antibodies you’re immune and you can go back to work,’ he said.
‘Now maybe not. Maybe you’re immune, maybe you’re not, maybe you’re a little immune, we don’t know.
‘The more we learn the worse it is and the more we learn it’s only negative – we’ve not learnt anything since we started where we say this is better than we thought.’
His stark warnings over the growing cases of the rare inflammatory disease in children came the day after the CDC issued an alert about the condition.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has issued an alert over a rare but sometimes deadline autoimmune condition among children, similar to the Kawasaki disease
‘Healthcare providers who have cared or are caring for patients younger than 21 years of age meeting MIS-C criteria should report suspected cases to their local, state, or territorial health department,’ the CDC warned Thursday.
The condition had previously been referred to as Pediatric Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome (PMIS) by the state of New York.
The agency’s case definition includes current or recent COVID-19 infection or exposure to the virus, a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours, severe illness requiring hospitalization, inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.
The name and definition are similar to those used in Europe, where the condition was first reported several weeks ago and where scientists have found the first clear evidence that infection with coronavirus causes the inflammatory condition.
The CDC said that physicians should ‘consider MIS-C in any pediatric death with evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection,’ referring to the virus that causes COVID-19.
But it is not yet known if the condition is limited to children, the CDC added.
Children with the illness are usually taken to hospital with a high fever that has lasted a number of days and severe abdominal pain. The most seriously ill may develop sepsis-like symptoms such as rapid breathing and poor blood circulation
WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT THE INFLAMMATORY SYNDROME IN CHILDREN?
Children are being admitted in what has been described as a ‘multi-system inflammatory state.’
This refers to the over-production of cytokines, known as a cytokine storm – the overreaction of the body’s immune system.
In a storm, the proteins start to attack healthy tissue, which can cause blood vessels to leak and lead to low blood pressure
Doctors say this also happens with Ebola, causing the body to go into shock.
It has also been noted in older COVID-19 patients.
WHAT SYMPTOMS DOES IT CAUSE?
The majority of the children being hospitalized with the condition have suffered from a high fever for a number of days, severe abdominal pain and diarrhea.
Some develop a rash and red eyes or red lips, while a very small group go into shock, in which the heart is affected and they may get cold hands and feet and have rapid breathing.
The symptoms are similar to those caused by Kawasaki disease, a rare but treatable condition that affects around eight in every 100,000 children each year in the UK.
WHEN DID OFFICIALS FIRST START TO SEE CASES?
The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) sent an alert to doctors on April 27, warning them to look out for signs of the syndrome.
At the time they said cases had been appearing in tiny numbers in London for about three weeks. Since then they have spread further across the country and between 75 and 100 children are known to have been infected.
Cases in the US have been reported in New York and in clusters in other states such as New Jersey and California..
IS IT CAUSED BY SARS-COV-2, THE CORONAVIRUS?
Doctors are almost certain the illness is being caused by the coronavirus but they haven’t yet been able to prove it.
Cases began appearing as the UK’s coronavirus outbreak hit its peak and similar conditions have been reported in China and Italy during the pandemic.
However, not all children with the Kawasaki-like syndrome test positive for the virus. Swab testing has suggested some of the children have not been infected with COVID-19 at the time they were ill.
But all patients have tested positive for antibodies, doctors said, meaning they have had the coronavirus in the past.
They said this suggests it is a ‘post-infectious phenomenon’ which is caused by a delayed overreaction of the immune system, which may happen weeks or even up to a month after the child was infected with COVID-19.
IS IT TREATABLE?
Yes. All but one of the children who have been diagnosed with the syndrome have survived. The only child known to have died with it, a 14-year-old boy, died of a stroke that was triggered by the life support machine he was on.
Doctors are currently treating the condition by using medications to calm down the immune system and dampen the overreaction.
Dr Liz Whittaker, a paediatrician at Imperial College Healthcare in London, said the sickest children are usually very ill for four to five days and begin to recover a couple of days after starting treatment.