During the COVID-19 Pandemic, over 120,000 American children lost a parent…


According to a new study, the number of children orphaned in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic may be higher than previously believed, and the toll has been significantly higher among Black and Hispanic Americans.

According to a study published Thursday in the medical journal Pediatrics, more than half of the children who lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic belonged to those two racial groups, which account for around 40% of the US population.

Dr. Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement, “These findings truly emphasize those youngsters who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic, and where further resources should be directed.”

More than 120,000 children in the United States lost a parent or grandparent who was a key provider of financial assistance and care during the approximately 19-month COVID-19 pandemic, according to the report. Another 22,000 children lost a secondary caregiver, such as a grandparent who supplied lodging but not the rest of a child’s essential needs.

In many cases, the children were cared for by surviving parents or other relatives. However, in order to quantify how many children’s lives were upended, the researchers utilized the term “orphanhood” in their study.

The number of children placed in foster care in the United States last year is not yet known, according to federal figures. COVID-19 is thought to have resulted in a 15% increase of orphaned youngsters, according to researchers.

The figures in the current study are based on statistical modeling that took into account fertility rates, death statistics, and household composition data.

As of February 2021, an earlier study by separate researchers predicted that approximately 40,000 children in the United States had lost a parent to COVID-19.

According to Ashton Verdery, an author of the earlier study, the findings of the two studies are not contradictory. Verdery and his colleagues studied a shorter length of time than the new study. Verdery’s group also focused solely on parent deaths, whereas the current report also included information on what happened to grandparents who were caring for their grandchildren.

“Understanding grandparental losses is critical,” said Verdery, a Penn State researcher, in an email. “Many youngsters live with their grandparents,” according to the report, a living arrangement that is more typical among specific racial groups.

Hispanic children made up 32 percent of all children who lost a primary caregiver, while Black children made up 26 percent. Hispanic and African-American Americans make up far smaller proportion of the population. Despite the fact that white children make up more than half of the population, they accounted for 35% of the children who lost their primary caregivers.

In certain states, the disparities were even more significant. In California, Hispanic youngsters made up 67 percent of those who had lost their primary caregivers. According to the report, 57 percent of children in Mississippi who lost their primary caregivers were Black.

The new study’s calculations were based on excess deaths, or deaths that occurred in excess of what would be deemed normal. The coronavirus was responsible for the majority of the deaths, although the pandemic has also resulted in an increase in deaths from other causes.

In January, Kate Kelly, a Georgia girl, lost her 54-year-old father. She said William “Ed” Kelly was having trouble breathing and that an urgent care clinic felt it was related to COVID-19. However, it was discovered that he had a clogged artery and died of a heart attack at work, leaving Kate, her two sisters, and her mother alone.

Friends and neighbors donated groceries, gave donations, and were extremely supportive in the first month after he died. But, with the exception of Kate and her family, it appeared like everyone went on after that.

“It’s been like no help at all,” said the Lilburn high school junior.

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