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Cases impacting people of color disproportionately

By Miriam Raftery

December 20, 2020 (San Diego) – Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) has been reported in 152 children statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health.  The rare inflammatory condition associated with COVID-19 can damage multiple organ systems, and may be life-threatening without early diagnosis and treatment.

The news is troubling given the high number of children back in public school for in-person learning. Cajon Valley Union School District, for instance, has had 297 cases of COVID-19 in students and staff since August 8, yet schools remain open. To date, 2.34% of all students and staff have been infected.

Protection for teachers is on the horizon, since as front-line workers they are expected to be next in line for vaccines after healthcare workers and nursing home residents, the Washington Post reports today.

But there is no such protection for children, since neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is authorized for use in anyone under age 16.  

Nationally, more than a thousand cases have been reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control. MIS-C is impacting people of color disproportionately, for unknown reasons.  Approximately 40% of case nationally have been in Latinos and another 35% in blacks, with whites accounting for about 13% of cases.

MIS-C can require hospitalization. According to the Centers for Disease Control, MIS-can cause body parts to become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal (gut) pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. 

Contact your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic right away if your child is showing symptoms of MIS-C or symptoms of COVID-19. If your child is showing any emergency warning signs including trouble breathing, pain or pressure in the chest that does not go away, new confusion, inability to wake up or stay awake, bluish lips or face, or severe abdominal pain, call 911 or go to the emergency room.

The state has not disclosed which counties have had cases of MIS-C.

Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and

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