Research by the American Academy of Pediatrics estimated that 120,630 children went through the death of a primary caregiver during the coronavirus pandemic, while an additional 22,000 lost their secondary caregiver.
“Effective action to reduce health disparities and protect children from direct and secondary harms from COVID-19 is a public health and moral imperative,” reads the research paper.
Deaths were identified as fatalities from April 2020 to June 30 2021 that were either directly or indirectly caused by the virus.
The study noted that caregiver deaths were higher among non-white populations. Children of minorities made up 65% of kids who lost their caregivers. Black children were 2.4 times more likely to lose a caregiver, while Hispanic children were 1.8 times more likely.
Researchers used the term ‘orphanhood’ to refer to people who have lost their caregivers.
Figures were calculated based on “statistical modeling that used fertility rates, death statistics and household composition data to make estimates.”
Many of the ‘caregivers’ lost were grandparents caring for their grandchildren.
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“It is very important to understand grandparental losses,” said Ashton Verdery, a researcher at Penn State, to the Associated Press.
Children who lose parents or authority figures are more likely to experience various mental health issues, according to the study.
“The magnitude of young people affected is a sobering reminder of the devastating impact of the past 18 months,” co-lead researcher Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London said.
The study found that, worldwide, 1.5 million children have lost a primary or secondary caregiver in the initial 14 months of the pandemic.
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