SUNDAY, September 30, 2021 (HealthDay News )
According to data analysis, more than 120,000 children under the age of 18 lost a primary caregiver (a parent or grandparent who provided housing, basic needs, and care) between April 2020 and July 2021, and almost 22,000 lost a secondary caregiver (grandparents who provided housing, but not most basic needs).
According to a U.S. National Institutes of Health press release, study author Susan Hillis, a researcher with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , “Children experiencing orphanhood as a result of COVID is a hidden, global pandemic that has tragically not spared the United States.”
According to a study published on October 7 in the journal Pediatrics , approximately 1 in 500 children in the United States have lost a grandparent caregiver or became orphans as a result of COVID-19 .
Despite the fact that whites make up 61% of the U.S. population and persons of racial and ethnic minorities make up 39% of the population, children of racial and ethnic minorities account for 65% of children who lost a primary caregiver to COVID-19 , compared to 35% of white children.
1 of every 168 American Indian/Alaska Native children, 1 of every 310 Black children, 1 of every 412 Hispanic children, 1 of every 612 Asian children, and 1 of every 753 White children suffered orphanhood or the death of a key caregiver owing to COVID-19 .
Black children were 2.4 times more likely, Hispanic children were 1.8 times more probable, and American Indian/Alaska Native children were 4.5 times more likely than white kids to lose a parent or grandparent caregiver.
The majority of children who lost their primary caregivers to COVID-19 lived in states with significant populations, like California, Texas, and New York.
Significant racial and ethnic inequalities between states were also discovered by the researchers.
49% to 67% of children who lost a primary caregiver were Hispanic in New Mexico, Texas, and California. Between 45% and 57% of children who lost a primary caregiver were Black in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi. In South Dakota (55%), New Mexico (39%), Montana (38%), Oklahoma (23%), and Arizona (18%), American Indian/Alaska Native children who lost a primary caregiver were more prevalent.
Children suffer significantly when a parent dies: The researchers found that it is linked to mental health issues, fewer years of education, worse self-esteem, high-risk sexual practices, and an increased likelihood of substance abuse and suicide difficulties, violence, sexual abuse, and exploitation.
“This issue will have a significant immediate and long-term impact on all of us, especially our children, for generations to come. One of our top concerns, as well as being integrated into all facets of our emergency response, both now and in the post-pandemic future, must be dealing with the loss that these children have experienced and continue to endure, said Hillis.
According to study co-lead researcher Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London, “The quantity of young people affected is a sobering reminder of the tragic consequences of the past 18 months.” These statistics clearly show which children have been most impacted by the pandemic and where more funding should be focused.
SOURCE: News release, U.S. National Institutes of Health, October 7, 2021
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