Story at a glance

  • More than 1 million children experienced the death of one or both parents during the first 14 months of the pandemic.
  • Half a million lost a grandparent who cared for them in their home.
  • Researchers called for urgent investments in services to support children who lost parents during the pandemic, as these children are at increased risk for mental health issues, family poverty, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse.

A new study estimates 1.5 million children around the globe have lost a parent, guardian or grandparent who helped care for them to COVID-19. 

Researchers behind the study published in the Lancet used COVID-19 mortality data from March 2020 through April 2021 and national fertility statistics in 21 countries to produce worldwide estimates. The analysis included researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, the World Bank and the University College London. 

The analysis found more than 1 million children experienced the death of one or both parents during the first 14 months of the pandemic, while about half a million lost a grandparent who cared for them in their home. 

“Orphanhood and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from COVID-19 associated deaths,” the study says. 

Researchers called for urgent investments in services to support children who lost parents during the pandemic, as these children are at increased risk for mental health issues, family poverty, and physical, emotional and sexual abuse. 


Our country is in a historic fight against the Coronavirus. Add Changing America to your Facebook or Twitter feed to stay on top of the news.


These children are also more likely to die by suicide and develop chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, according to the study. 

“For every two COVID-19 deaths worldwide, one child is left behind to face the death of a parent or caregiver,” Susan Hillis, a lead author of the study and member of the CDC COVID-19 response team, said in a release

“Our findings highlight the urgent need to prioritize these children and invest in evidence-based programs and services to protect and support them right now and to continue to support them for many years into the future - because orphanhood does not go away,” Hillis said. 

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 4.1 million people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The U.S. has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths, tallying more than 609,000.


READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA

TOP HEALTH EXPERT SAYS DELTA VARIANT WILL SURGE IN US FOR MONTHS

NEW ONE-DOSE COVID-19 VACCINE THAT CAN BE INHALED TESTED IN ANIMALS

NEW JOHNS HOPKINS MAP SHOWS COVID-19 CASES RISING ACROSS AMERICA

WHO SAYS ‘CATASTROPHIC WAVES’ OF NEW DELTA VARIANT CASES ARE DRIVEN BY GREED

FAUCI SAYS VACCINES SHOULD BE MANDATED LOCALLY ACROSS THE COUNTRY

THE DELTA VARIANT IS SPIKING IN THESE FOUR US STATES


 

Published on Jul 21, 2021