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Millions of Children Globally Affected by COVID-19 Parent, Caregiver Death

News
02/25/22 By
HealthDay News

FRIDAY, Feb. 25, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- From April 30 to Oct. 31, 2021, there was a 90.0 percent increase in the number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death compared with the number during March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021, according to a study published online Feb. 24 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

H. Juliette T. Unwin, Ph.D., from Imperial College London, and colleagues modeled the increases in the numbers of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood (defined as death of one or both parents) and caregiver death using updated excess mortality and fertility data to include the new period of May 1 to Oct. 31, 2021, following the original study period of March 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021.

The researchers found that from April 30 to Oct. 31, 2021, there was an estimated 90.0 percent increase in the number of children affected by COVID-19-associated orphanhood and caregiver death (from 2,737,300 to 5,200,300). From March 1, 2020, to Oct. 31, 2021, COVID-19-associated orphanhood was estimated for 491,300 children aged 0 to 4 years, 736,800 children aged 5 to 9 years, and 2,146,700 children aged 10 to 17 years. Globally, 76.5 and 23.5 percent of children experiencing the loss of a caregiver were paternal and maternal orphans, respectively. The prevalence of paternal orphanhood exceeded that of maternal orphanhood in each age group and region.

"Support for orphaned children must be immediately integrated into every national COVID-19 response plan," a coauthor said in a statement.

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