Hundreds of Thousands of Children Orphaned by COVID-19 Globally, Study Finds

More than 1.5 million children worldwide saw a parent, custodial grandparent or other relative who cared for them die from COVID-19, according to a study published by the Lancet, UPI reported. Of these children, more than 1 million experienced one or both parents dying during the first 14 months of the pandemic, and another 500,000 experienced the death of a grandparent caregiver living in their own home, the data showed. "By April 30, 2021, these 1.5 million children had become the tragic overlooked consequence of the 3 million COVID-19 deaths worldwide, and this number will only increase as the pandemic progresses," said study co-author Susan Hillis, an epidemiologist with the CDC in Atlanta. "Our findings highlight the urgent need to prioritize these children and invest in evidence-based programs and services to protect and support them right now and to continue to support them for many years into the future." Before the start of the pandemic in March 2020, there were an estimated 140 million orphaned children worldwide, World Without Orphans estimates. These children are at increased risk for mental health problems, family poverty and physical, emotional, and sexual violence, and they are also more likely to die by suicide or develop a chronic disease, including heart disease and diabetes, according to the organization. For this study, the researchers developed mathematical models using the best available data to estimate the number of children impacted by the death of a parent or guardian during the pandemic. Read more.