Researchers behind the published study in the Lancet used COVID-19 mortality data from March 2020 to April 2021 and national fertility statistics in 21 countries to produce global estimates. The analysis included researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), USAID, the World Bank, and University College London.
The analysis found that more than a million children suffered the death of one or both parents in the first 14 months of the pandemic, while around half a million lost a grandparent who looked after them at home.
“Orphan and caregiver deaths are a hidden pandemic resulting from deaths associated with COVID-19,” the study said.
Researchers called for urgent investments in services to support children who lost their parents during the pandemic, as these children are at increased risk for mental health problems, family poverty and physical, emotional and sexual violence.
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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 deaths from COVID-19 worldwide, one child is left behind in the face of the death of a parent or caregiver,” said Susan Hillis, lead author of the study and member of the CDC COVID-19 response team. in a press release.
“Our findings underscore the urgent need to put these children first and invest in evidence-based programs and services to protect and support them now and continue to support them for many years to come -” because the orphanage is not going away, ”said Hillis. .
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 4.1 million people worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The United States has the highest number of deaths from COVID-19, with more than 609,000.
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