Childhood Inflammatory Disease Related to COVID-19

Overview & Stats

Children have been significantly less affected by COVID-19, as only 1 percent of New Yorkers who have been hospitalized were under 20 years old.

However, the State Department of Health is investigating 498 reported cases and 2 deaths in New York of children - predominantly school-aged - experiencing symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome, possibly due to COVID-19.

Of the children displaying these symptoms, 98 percent tested positive for COVID-19 either by diagnostic, antibody testing or both.


Age of Cases (updated May 7, 2021)


Percent of Cases 
















Race and Ethnicity of Cases (updated May 7, 2021)


Percent of Cases 













Percent of Cases 

Not Hispanic 







Though most children who get COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, this inflammatory syndrome has features which overlap with Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome and may occur days to weeks after acute COVID-19 illness.

New Yorkers should seek immediate care if a child has:

  • 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

Early recognition by pediatricians and referral to a specialist including to critical care is essential. 

    Information for Healthcare Providers

    Advisory: At the Governor’s direction, The State Department of Health issued an advisory about this serious inflammatory disease, called "Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome Associated with COVID-19," to inform healthcare providers of the condition, as well as to provide guidance for testing and reporting.

    Health care providers, including hospitals, are required to report to the Department of Health all cases of pediatric multisystem inflammatory syndrome potentially associated with COVID-19 in those under 21 years of age.

    Updated Advisory 5/13/20:  The Department of Health issued an updated health advisory establishing an interim case definition for pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome.  Case definitions are important because they provide a new name to a syndrome and a definition of what symptoms healthcare providers should look for.  Case definitions help standardize tracking and reporting and can help ensure a better health outcome.  

    Webinar: On May 14, 2020, the State Department of Health hosted a statewide webinar for all healthcare providers to discuss the symptoms, testing and care of reported inflammatory disease in children related to COVID-19. The recording is available below.

    Watch the Webinar

    Study in the New England Journal of Medicine: The Department of Health published a study of children with the Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 29, 2020.


    Response Efforts

    New York State is leading the national effort to find out more about this illness related to COVID-19 in children: 

    On May 14, 2020, New York issued first-in-the-nation criteria to healthcare professionals establishing an interim definition for COVID-related inflammatory illness in children.

    On May 12, 2020, Governor Cuomo directed hospitals statewide to prioritize COVID-19 testing for children displaying symptoms similar to an atypical Kawasaki disease and toxic shock-like syndrome.

    On May 10, 2020, New York State notified 49 other states across the country of emerging cases of COVID-related illness in children, and now 14 other states and five European countries have reported cases as well.

    The State Department of Health is also partnering with the NY Genome Center and Rockefeller University to conduct a genome and RNA sequencing study to better understand COVID-related illnesses in children.

    On May 9, 2020, Governor Cuomo announced that at the direction of the CDC, New York State is helping to develop the national criteria for identifying and responding to COVID-related illness.