Just this week, we learned a 1-year-old was the first child to die from COVID-19 in the state of Maryland. However, we often hear that children are at the lowest risk of contracting COVID-19.
Vivian Vesey is three years old, and she is feeling good.
Her entire family battled COVID-19 and beat it.
But about one week later, she became sick again.
Mom Miranda Vesey told ABC7, "I noticed her cheeks were really red and it really looked like she had a fever.”
For several days, the fever spiked. But doctors told Miranda to manage it with over-the-counter medication, and that it was likely a virus. But one night, she knew something was seriously wrong with her little girl.
“I looked down at my feet, and she is in a ball on the floor," Miranda recalled. "And I'm like 'Vivian, what are you doing on the floor?' She [said] 'Mommy, I was coming to get you, but I couldn’t walk. My feet won’t work.'”
So they rushed her to the ER.
“Her eyes were red, her face was red, her cheeks, she had blotches all over," Miranda said. "She was just really sick, and we knew that something was very wrong.”
Within 24 hours, Inova Children's Hospital had diagnosed Vivian with a rare COVID-19 complication called MIS-C, Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome. About 2-4 weeks after an often-asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, the entire body, including the organs, go into a life-threatening state of inflammation.
It's uncommon. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about two in every 100,000 kids get it. However, the doctor treating Vivian said he sees it once a week, defying the norms.
“When we talk about COVID, we so often hear that term underlying conditions, but this time it doesn’t apply?” ABC7 anchor Alison Starling asked Dr. Rebecca Levorson.
“Right, so with children with MIS-C, it actually appears to be sort of the minority of children who have an underlying medical condition," Levorson said. "Most of these children are otherwise healthy.”
The CDC has reported nearly 1,200 cases of MIS-C, and 20 deaths during the pandemic. The average age: eight years old.
Furthermore, 75 percent of those cases occur in Hispanic or Black children.
MIS-C symptoms include high fever, red eyes, stomach ache and overall body pain. All of which Vivian endured.
“When your child is sick, and they're so sick and you can't do anything about it, it's the most helpless feeling in the world,” Miranda said.
After an IV treatment and steroids to calm the inflammation, the little girl slowly began to improve.
She is doing great now, but like so much with COVID-19, there is the unknown of what is on the horizon.
“We don't know the long-term complications of that," Levorson explained. "We don't know if they're going to have problems in the future, and so we need to watch these children very closely to know.”
It's been a frightening journey for this family, but they hope the rest of us can learn from their experience.
“Parents need to know that your kids can get very sick from COVID-19," Miranda said. "I'm thankful for the doctors, I'm thankful for our health and that we've got our little girl.”
Doctors still do not know much about MIS-C, such as why it affected Vivian and not her siblings. Leverson said it often shows up in healthy children.
Leverson said the fundamentals remain the same: try your best to prevent the trigger for MIS-C, which is COVID-19.
You can do the following to prevent the spread of the coronavirus:
- wash your hands
- wear a mask
- maintain a social distance