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By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

At least 285 U.S. children have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus and while most recovered, the potential for long-term or permanent damage is unknown, two new studies suggest.

The papers, published online Monday in the New England Journal of Medicine, provide the fullest report yet on the condition.

The condition is known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children. It is considered uncommon and deaths are rare; six children died among the 285 in the new studies.

Including cases in Europe, where it was first reported, about 1,000 children worldwide have been affected, a journal editorial said.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s case definition includes current or recent COVID-19 infection or exposure to the virus; a fever of at least 100.4 for at least 24 hours; severe illness requiring hospitalization; inflammatory markers in blood tests, and evidence of problems affecting at least two organs that could include the heart, kidneys, lungs, skin or other nervous system.

Digestive symptoms including nausea and diarrhea are common. Some children may have symptoms resembling Kawasaki disease, a rare condition in children that can cause swelling and heart problems.

At least 35 states have had cases, and they seem to crop up a few weeks after local COVID-19 activity peaks, said Dr. Adrienne Randolph of Boston Children’s Hospital. She is a lead researcher for a multistate study that includes CDC scientists. The second paper involved 99 children in New York state, where the first U.S. cases occurred.

Combined, the papers show 285 cases from March thru mid to late May but Randolph said additional U.S. children have been diagnosed in June.

Most had current or recent COVID-19 infections but had previously been healthy.

About 80% of children in the multistate study had heart-related problems, which included coronary aneurysms — a bulge in a heart artery that can be fatal.

“Those need to be followed up,” Randolph said. “This is a life-threatening concern for a lot of patients.’’

Most affected children had no other health condition but about 30% were obese. The condition also appears to disproportionately affect Latino and Black children and boys.

The average age was 8 years old. Researchers don’t know if adults can be affected.

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Follow AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner at @LindseyTanner.

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Facebook takes down accounts tied to Roger Stone

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Facebook on Wednesday said it has removed dozens of accounts linked to the hate group Proud Boys, to President Donald Trump’s longtime ally Roger Stone and to employees of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, among others.

A network tied to both Stone and the Proud Boys had fake accounts post about local politics in Florida, as well as Stone’s books, websites and media appearances, Facebook said. Stone’s own Facebook and Instagram accounts were also banned.

“Roger Stone’s personal accounts and his branded assets will be coming down as part of this network,” said Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, in a call with reporters. “Because we saw them deeply enmeshed in the activities here.”

Facebook said these accounts were most active from 2015 to 2017 and most have been dormant since.

Stone was sentenced to more than three years in prison after he was convicted of lying to Congress, tampering with a witness and obstructing the House investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to tip the 2016 election. Attorney General William Barr is scheduled to testify before Congress in July after two of his employees testified that he has politicized the department on behalf of Trump and allowed special treatment of Stone’s case.

The Proud Boys were banned from Facebook and Instagram in 2018, but supporters of the organization have tried to get around the ban by creating new pages or accounts. It’s the third time in recent months that Facebook has announced the removal of accounts and pages linked to the group.

The accounts linked to Bolsonaro were removed for spreading misinformation, using fake identities and otherwise violating Facebook’s rules.

Facebook’s said the accounts were linked to Brazil’s Social Liberal Party, which Bolsonaro left last year after winning the 2018 presidential election, and to employees of the president, two of his sons, Sen. Flávio Bolsonaro and congressman Eduardo Bolsonaro, and two other lawmakers.

Brazil’s justice is investigating the spread of false news in connection with Bolsonaro, which could affect him in the criminal and in the electoral arenas.

Facebook also removed fake accounts in Ukraine focused on stirring up domestic divisions, as well as a network of accounts originating in Canada and Ecuador and focused on El Salvador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Ecuador and Chile.

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Associated Press writers David Klepper in Providence, Rhode Island, and Mauricio Savarese in Sao Paolo, Brazil, contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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