In a recent statistic, it was reported that 1 in 4 deaths in the United States due to Covid-19 had left a child without a parent or a caregiver.
The shocking fact come to light when data from April 2020 to July 2021 was analyzed. As per the data, around 120,000 children lost a primary caregiver, parent, or grandparent, who was providing housing, basic needs, and care. It also reported that around 22,000 U.S.
Covid-19 Claims Life Of Caregivers To Around 140,000 U.S. Children
children lost a secondary caregiver, parent, or grandparent, who was provided with a house but not other necessities.
According to Susan Hillis, a researcher at the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention, orphanhood due to Covid-19 is a hidden pandemic that has not spared the United States.
In a study that was published in the journal Pediatrics on Oct 7, it was estimated that around 1 in 500 children in the United States has either become orphans or lost a grandparent caregiver during the pandemic.
When the data was classified as per the racial or ethnic groups, it was found that about 65% of the youngsters in minority groups have lost a primary caregiver as compared to 35% of the Whites due to the pandemic. The disparity comes when the white children account for 61% of the children in the United States. Children from racial or ethnic minority groups represent only 39% of the children in the U.S.
The subdivision also revealed the following data for the loss of a primary caregiver to covid-19
- 1 in every 168 American Indian or Alaska native children
- 1 in every 310 Black children
- 1 in every 412 Hispanic children
- 1 in every 612 Asian children
- 1 in every 753 White children
An Indian or Alaska Native American child is about 4.5 times more likely to lose a caregiver (parent or grandparent) to covid-19 as compared to white children. While Black children are about 2.4 times more likely to lose a caregiver and Hispanic children are about 1.8 times to lose a caregiver to Covid-19 as compared to the White children.
Big cities with large populations have obviously recorded the highest number of children who have lost a primary caregiver, either a parent or a grandparent, to the Covid-19 pandemic. The States include California, New York, and Texas.
Researchers also observed significant ethnic or racial differences between the states.
As per the data, in Texas, California, and New Mexico, about 49% to 67% of the Children Are Hispanic who has lost a primary caregiver in the pandemic. In Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana, 45% to 57% of children are Black who suffered a loss. Alaska native children or American Indian children have suffered the most in South Dakota (55%), New Mexico (39%), Montana (38%), Oklahoma (23%), and Arizona (18%).
Losing a caregiver and a parent is linked to mental health problems in children. It is also associated with lower self-esteem and an increase in the risk of substance abuse. According to the researchers, fewer years of school, high-risk sexual behaviors, sexual abuse and exploitation, violence, suicide, etc. in children are associated with that loss.
Hillis pointed out that all of us and especially the children are going to face immediate or long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for many generations. He said that the top priorities for governments and people and organizations should be to address the issue of these orphaned young children. This needs to be incorporated in the emergency response during the pandemic and even post-pandemic.
Alexandra Blenkinsop, one of the co-researchers, added that the huge number of young people who are affected is a devastating picture of the last 18 months. She insisted that these children are left more vulnerable and more resources should be directed towards them to tackle this hidden pandemic situation.
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