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The Pandemic’s Toll on Children and Families

September 09, 2022

About 10.5 million children around the world may have lost parents or caregivers to COVID-19, according to a new report released this week.

The findings published in JAMA Pediatrics are nearly double previous estimates and serve as a call to action to support those who have lost loved ones due to the virus, the researchers note.

“Urgently needed pandemic responses can combine equitable vaccination with life-changing programs for bereaved children,” the researchers said.

Among the takeaways from the report:

  • The estimate:  Globally, about 10.5 million children lost parents or caregivers, and 7.5 million children experienced COVID-19–associated orphanhood.
  • Across the world:  Globally, India (3.5 million), Indonesia (664,000) reported the most bereft children. It's estimated 264,300 U.S. children lost a primary or secondary caregiver during the pandemic.
  • Next steps:  To limit the toll of the pandemic, the researchers suggest a focus on accelerating vaccines, containment and treatment; preparing families to provide safe and nurturing care; and continued support for children who suffered the loss of a parent or caregiver.
  • Source:  The researchers used data from the World Health Organization to estimate the total parent and caregiver loss through May 1, 2022.
  • Quotable:  “Effective, caring action to protect children from immediate and long-term harms of COVID-19 is an investment in the future and a public health imperative,” the researchers wrote. 

As we approach the fall and winter, HAP continues to urge everyone to follow the latest COVID-19 public health precautions and stay up to date on their vaccinations for COVID-19 and the flu. Learn more about appointments available in your community.

The report is available to review online.



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