Femia, director of inpatient dermatology at NYU Langone Health in New York City, was looking at a patient’s chart, which included several photos of the 45-year-old man who had, in recent weeks, cared for his wife while she was sick with Covid-19. The man had dusky-red circular patches on the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet. His eyes were pink, and his lips were extremely chapped.

His body was erupting with the kind of extreme inflammation noted almost exclusively in children at the time.

“Before I even saw the patient,” Femia recalled, “I said: ‘This hasn’t been reported yet. This must be MIS-A.'”

MIS-A stands for “multi-system inflammatory syndrome in adults.” When the condition was identified in children this spring, it was named MIS-C, with the C standing for “children.”