Thu. May 19th, 2022

Children from racial and ethnic minorities were far more likely to lose such a caregiver, the CDC-led team found.

The results illustrate orphanhood as a hidden and persistent secondary tragedy caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and emphasize that identification and care for these children throughout their development is a necessary and urgent part of the pandemic response — both as long as the pandemic continues, as well as in the post-pandemic era, “said the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which helped pay for the study, in a statement.

National Center for Health Statistics data up to June showed that children of racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 65% of those who lost a primary caregiver, while white children accounted for 35%, although minorities account for only 39% of the American people.

“During the 15 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, 120,630 children in the United States experienced the death of a primary caregiver, including parents and grandparents who provided basic needs, due to covid-19 deaths. In addition, 22,007 children experienced the death of secondary caregivers, for a total of 142,637 children who lose primary or secondary caregivers, “the researchers wrote in the journal Pediatrics.

Secondary caregivers mostly included grandparents who provided love, security, or basic care, researchers said.

The worst affected were children in the southern border states, where Spanish children accounted for anywhere between 50% and 67% of the affected children.

In the southeastern states, up to 57% of affected children were black, and in states with tribal territories, Native American / Alaska native children accounted for up to 55% of children who lost a parent or other primary caregiver to Covid-19.

“In addition to parents, grandparents are increasingly indispensable and often provide basic needs. In the United States from 2011 to 2019, 10% of children lived with a grandparent, and in 2019, 4.5 million children lived with a grandparent who provided their housing. Black, Hispanic, and Asian children are twice as likely as white children to live with a grandparent, “wrote CDC’s Susan Hillis and colleagues.

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“Loss of parents is associated with mental health problems, shorter schooling, lower self-esteem, sexual risk behaviors and risks of suicide, violence, sexual abuse and exploitation,” they added.

“Still, there is hope. Safe and effective vaccines can stop Covid-19-associated orphanhood and death for carers from adversely affecting children and families.”

Even losing a parent or grandparent can be devastating to children, especially those in marginal situations where they are facing the loss of their home, being abused, or simply falling into poverty.

“Children facing orphanhood as a result of Covid are a hidden, global pandemic that has unfortunately not spared the United States,” Hillis said in a statement.

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“We all – especially our children – will feel the serious immediate and long-term impact of this problem in future generations. Tackling the loss that these children have experienced – and continue to experience – must be one of our top priorities, and it must be woven into all aspects of our emergency preparedness, both now and in the post-pandemic future, “Hillis added.

The researchers said the government needs to pay close attention to the affected children.

“We must ensure that children who have lost a parent or caregiver have access to the support services they need and that this further impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is addressed in detail in both our rapid response and our overall response to public health, “said Charles Nelson, who studies the effects of adversity on developments at Boston Children’s Hospital.

In July, Hillis and colleagues published a study in the Lancet Medical Journal that found that 1.1 million children globally had lost a parent to Covid-19 in April, and 1.5 million had lost either a parent or a grandparent or other relative. who helped look after them.

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