Editor’s Note: Every Wednesday, James Hamblin takes questions from readers about health-related curiosities, concerns, and obsessions. Have one? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Dr. Hamblin,
I’m a college professor, but homeschooling my 6-year-old is proving to be one of the most challenging things I have ever done. I’m currently failing. Naturally, I have a lot of questions as schools are discussing reopening in the fall. A silver lining of this pandemic is that the disease seems to be mostly asymptomatic in children, but then, in May, I saw reports (and an advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) about an inflammatory disease that was showing up in children. Can you explain how this is related to COVID-19, but isn’t considered COVID-19? And did it stop happening, or did we just stop hearing about it?
The mysterious condition did seem to vanish, didn’t it? But unfortunately, it’s still happening, and it deserves serious attention.
The condition, known as Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C, is distinct from COVID-19 (which kids can also get). It isn’t being monitored as closely or as comprehensively, so much is still unknown. Just this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that New York had seen 95 confirmed cases as of May 10. Some kids in New York and across the country have even died.