The covid-19 pandemic, which in the United States has already caused more than half a million deaths, left by February between 37,000 to 43,000 children without at least one parent, according to estimates by a researcher at Stony Brook University.
The work was published in the pediatric journal JMA and directed by Rachel Kidman.
“Children who have lost a parent are at a high risk of suffering traumatic shock, depression, poor school results, involuntary death and suicide,” warn experts, considering that the consequences “may persist into adulthood.”
The authors compare this situation with the terrorist attacks against twin towers in 2001, an event that left 3,000 children without a family member.
They also warn that these losses, due to the pandemic, take place at a time of social isolation, difficulties in the functioning of institutions and economic problems, which “can leave children at risk without the support they need”.
The study combines data on mortality during the covid-19 pandemic with information on family ties to quantify how many children up to the age of 17 in the United States have lost a parent.
Thus, the researchers concluded that the pandemic left 18% to 20% more orphans in a year than usual.
The document also maintains that black children were the most affected and details that, representing African-American minors 14% of the population, about 20% of these minors lost at least one parent.
In a statement from Stony Brook University, Kidman warned of the adverse consequences of the pandemic on minors.
“The consequences of the covid-19 pandemic on children, from the increase in physical violence to food insecurity, have left a mark on this generation. We show that children are also increasingly experiencing the death of their parents, which can have consequences serious and lasting “, pointed out Kidman.
Therefore, in the presentation of the study, it is emphasized that “radical national reforms are needed to address the health, educational and economic consequences that affect children (…), particularly during this period of greater social isolation”.
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