WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The Westchester County Department of Health says the recent deaths of two children from asthma were likely preventable, and serve as a sad reminder to parents that they should not avoid doctor’s visits during the coronavirus pandemic.

“These deaths have really hit home. Children shouldn’t die of asthma,” Dr. Mark Davis-Lorton told CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Wednesday.

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Davis-Lorton hopes parents heed the warning from the Westchester County Child Fatality Review Team.

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Two local school-age children have died in recent months from asthma, after not seeing their doctors since the start of the pandemic.

“These children were not seen by a physician, and they needed to have been,” county Health Commissioner Dr. Sherlita Amler said.


Amler said some parents believe they are keeping children safe from COVID-19 by avoiding the doctor’s office.

“What this does is it leaves children who have conditions like asthma, that do need to be followed, it leaves them at risk for having problems with these chronic medical conditions,” Amler said.

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“When asthma therapy isn’t maintained, patients can become very, very sick and pass away and, sadly, in this case, we’ve had two deaths that were preventable,” Davis-Lorton added.

His practice, ENT and Allergy Associates, has extensive protocols in place to minimize the risk of COVID-19 exposure at the doctor’s office. Doctors, nurses and medical office staff have every incentive to keep the virus out of their facility. They’re in the building all day.

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Davis-Lorton said telemedicine visits are far from ideal with chronic conditions such as asthma.

“We really do need to listen to their lungs. It’s not just something that can be done via a telehealth visit,” Davis-Lorton said.

The county said the deaths of two young asthmatics show the casualties of COVID-19 are more than just the victims of the virus.

Health Commissioner Amler said the advice holds true for everyone with medical conditions — don’t let fear of COVID-19 prevent you from seeing your doctor.

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