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COVID-19-Associated Orphanhood and Caregiver Death in the United States

Hillis, SD; Blenkinsop, A; Villaveces, A; Annor, FB; Liburd, L; Massetti, GM; Demissie, Z; ... Unwin, HJT; + view all (2021) COVID-19-Associated Orphanhood and Caregiver Death in the United States. Pediatrics 10.1542/peds.2021-053760. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Most COVID-19 deaths occur among adults, not children, and attention has focused on mitigating COVID-19 burden among adults. However, a tragic consequence of adult deaths is that high numbers of children might lose their parents and caregivers to COVID-19- associated deaths. Methods: We quantified COVID-19-associated caregiver loss and orphanhood in the US and for each state using fertility and excess and COVID-19 mortality data. We assessed burden and rates of COVID-19-associated orphanhood and deaths of custodial and co-residing grandparents, overall and by race/ethnicity. We further examined variations in COVID-19-associated orphanhood by race/ethnicity for each state. Results: We found that from April 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021, over 140,000 children in the US experienced the death of a parent or grandparent caregiver. The risk of such loss was 1.1 to 4.5 times higher among children of racial and ethnic minorities, compared to Non-Hispanic White children. The highest burden of COVID-19-associated death of parents and caregivers occurred in Southern border states for Hispanic children, Southeastern states for Black children, and in states with tribal areas for American Indian/Alaska Native populations. Conclusions: We found substantial disparities in distributions of COVID-19-associated death of parents and caregivers across racial and ethnic groups. Children losing caregivers to COVID-19 need care and safe, stable, and nurturing families with economic support, quality childcare and evidence-based parenting support programs. There is an urgent need to mount an evidence-based comprehensive response focused on those children at greatest risk, in the states most affected.

Type: Article
Title: COVID-19-Associated Orphanhood and Caregiver Death in the United States
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1542/peds.2021-053760
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1542/peds.2021-053760
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health > Infection and Population Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10137472
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