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Uncertainty and fear are key features of the impact of coronavirus, and they will sadly not be eased by the high degree of known unknowns about observations from children’s intensive care doctors.
They are observing a set of symptoms similar to serious cases of covid-19 but not the same, and in which some cases are testing positive for the virus, but some not. This has been increasing over the past two to three weeks.
A small number of children are thought to have been affected, but concern has been sufficient enough to share a warning with many GPs and children’s intensive care doctors, to ensure they take cases seriously and refer them appropriately.
Unfortunately, there is no certainty as yet about whether the syndrome is covid-19 related — such as a different presentation or strain — or a different infection with similar characteristics.
The cases appear to be mostly in London, but some have been identified elsewhere in the UK, and there are some reports of similar phenomena overseas.
National officials are believed to be examining the issue and whether there are further steps they need to take.
Meanwhile, many NHS managers are struggling with how best to protect their black, Asian and minority ethnic staff from coronavirus. With growing evidence people from a BAME background are particularly adversely affected by covid-19, BAME staff may be feeling vulnerable.
Somerset Foundation Trust has taken the radical step of declaring all BAME staff are “at risk” and inviting them to discuss their position with their manager, including any conditions which would put them at greater risk.
It’s a bold move which could potentially lead to some staff having to be taken off the front-line but probably easier to do in a trust which is less dependent on BAME staff than many in more urban areas.