BALTIMORE Md. (WMAR) — COVID-19 cases in children continue to rise, bringing concerns that more kids will suffer lasting symptoms.
Maryland is home to a family that knows firsthand the severity of these symptoms.
“Never in our wildest dreams did we think that this would happen and she was just so sick,” said mom Lauren Deitz.
It all began in August. Morgan Deitz (8 years old) and Natalie (10 years old), tested positive for COVID-19.
“We just thought we had very mild cases and were going on with the summer. So after we finished quarantine, we just went back to our typical normal selves,” said Lauren.
Morgan became tired after a few more weeks. Morgan developed a fever and stomach cramps.
“Then I couldn’t walk,” said Morgan.
Lauren took Lauren to urgent medicine where she was tested for many things. However, all of them were negative. It could have been a virus. However, the doctor advised Lauren to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms that may indicate a COVID-19-related syndrome in children.
Morgan woke up next morning with a reddened rash on her hands.
“That was one of the symptoms that the urgent care doctor said to look out for so she said if that happens to take her to an ER,” said Lauren.
She spent 10 days in the Johns Hopkins Pediatric ICU fighting multisystem inflammation syndrome in children (MISC).
“What happens with these children or young adults is that their immune system is overstimulated and hyperactive post their infection,” said Dr. Meghan Bernier.
Bernier was one of Morgan’s doctors and is the medical director of the pediatric intensive care unit at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.
Since MIS-C was only identified last year, there’s less awareness so it’s harder to catch early on. It’s been common with children who have mild initial infections.
“Then about 2-4-6 weeks later is when we start to see the rise in the inflammation. They have malaise, generally tired, fevers, they may have a rash, abdominal pain and that’s what brings them in to seek care,” said Dr. Bernier.
She stated that most children recover fully, but it is possible for some to die.
“We’ve had 2 patients in the state of Maryland at least who’ve died of MIS-C,” said Bernier.
Johns Hopkins will see more children suffering from long-term symptoms because of the delta variant’s effect on them.
Right now, there’s no way of knowing which children will develop MIS-C.
Morgan is now much more mobile, despite taking steroids and other treatments.
“She seems to be making hopefully a full recovery but every time we ask about the long term, they just say it’s just so new they just don’t know yet,” said Lauren.
Because of that, she’s turning her scary experience into a positive, working to convince people to get vaccinated to protect those who are vulnerable, like her and her sister.
“I think it’s just really important now because MIS-C’s coming up and COVID’s just bad. So I’m doing this because I want people to get the vaccine. I already convinced one of my family members,” said Morgan.