More than 140K US kids lost caregivers to COVID-19

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Most of the children who lost a caregiver were racial or ethnic minorities.

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More than 140,000 US children have lost a parent, grandparent or other caregiver COVID-19, found a study, in which researchers noted significant racial and ethnic disparities and called for a focused effort to protect children. mental health and goodness.

federally funded findings, published in Pediatrics The journal, as a result of a collaboration between Disease Control and Prevention researchers and several universities, and included data from April 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, found that nearly 1 in 500 US children have a COVID-associated orphanage. has been affected by.

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According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the loss of a parent or grandparent who provides care and basic necessities can increase children’s risk of poor mental health and self-esteem, and may lead to increased risk of substance abuse, suicide. , can pave the way for violence and sexual abuse.

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“Children facing orphans as a result of Covid are a hidden, global pandemic that, sadly, has not spared the United States,” Susan Hillis, CDC researcher and lead author of the study, said in an NIH statement. News release Posted Thursday. “All of us – especially our children – will feel the serious immediate and long-term impact of this problem for generations to come.”

Hillis stressed that addressing the loss of children should be one of the top priorities amid the pandemic and the post-pandemic response.

The team of researchers analyzed mortality, fertility, and census data across the US and for each state in which deaths linked to COVID-19 occurred from both direct and indirect causes, such as COVID-19 illness or lockdowns, Decreased quality of health care and disease treatment. Results indicated that approximately 120,630 US children lost a parent or grandparent who provided basic needs and care, while another 22,007 children offered housing to a secondary caregiver, or grandparent, But did not lose the basic necessities as of the release.

“The death of a parent is a huge loss that can reshape a child’s life,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “We must work to ensure that all children have access to evidence-based prevention interventions that can help them navigate this trauma, to support their future mental health and well-being.”

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“At the same time, we must address many of the underlying inequalities and health disparities that put people of color at greater risk of getting COVID-19 and dying from COVID-19, which make children of color more vulnerable to losing parents. puts you at greater risk or related adverse effects on the caregiver and their development,” Volkow said.

The researchers found significant disparities; While white individuals comprise 61% of the population and minorities make up 39% of the population, white children made up 35% of those who had lost a primary caregiver, while children from racial and ethnic minorities comprised 65% who had seen a caregiver. had lost.

Compared to white children, children of American Indian/Alaska descent were 4.5 times more likely to have lost a parent or grandparent to their caregiver. Black children were associated with a 2.4 times greater likelihood of losing a parent or grandparent than white children, while Hispanic children were 1.8 times more likely, the release read.


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