“We now have more of these MIS-C children, but this time it seems that a higher percentage of them are very critically ill,” said Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, Director of Infectious Diseases at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC During the hospital’s first wave, about half of the patients needed treatment in the intensive care unit, she said, but now 80 to 90 percent do.
The reasons are unclear. The wave follows the overall increase in Covid cases in the US after the winter holidays, and more cases can simply increase the chances of serious illness appearing. So far, there is no evidence that recent coronavirus variants are responsible, and experts say it is too early to speculate on any impact of variants on the syndrome.
While most young people, even those who became seriously ill, have survived and gone home in a relatively healthy condition, doctors are unsure whether anyone will experience lingering heart problems or other problems.
“We do not really know what will happen in the long run,” said Dr. Jean Ballweg, medical director of pediatric heart transplantation and advanced heart failure at the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha, Neb., Where from April to October, the hospital treated about two cases per month, about 30 percent of them at the ICU. It rose to 10 cases in December and 12 in January, where 60 percent needed ICU care – most needed fans. “Obviously they seem to be sicker,” she said.