More than 120,000 U.S. children’s caregivers died during the pandemic

New York (Associated Press)-A new study suggests that the number of American children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be higher than previously estimated, and the death toll for blacks and Hispanics is much higher.

According to the study published on Thursday by the medical journal Pediatrics, more than half of the children who lost their primary caregivers during the pandemic belong to these two races, which account for about 40% of the American population.

One of the authors of the study, Dr. Alexandra Brenkinthorpe of Imperial College London, said in a statement: “These findings do highlight those children who are most vulnerable due to the pandemic and should be Where are the additional resources allocated.”

The study found that within 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past 19 months, more than 120,000 American children have lost their parents or grandparents, who are the main providers of financial support and care. Another 22,000 children have experienced the death of secondary caregivers—for example, grandparents who provide housing but not the children’s other basic needs.

In many cases, the surviving parents or other relatives still have to raise these children. But the researchers used the term “orphans” in their research because they tried to estimate how many children’s lives were disrupted.

Federal statistics have not yet been released on how many American children entered foster care institutions last year. Researchers estimate that COVID-19 has caused a 15% increase in the number of orphans.

The new study’s figures are based on statistical models that use fertility, death statistics, and household composition data to make estimates.

An earlier study by different researchers estimated that as of February 2021, approximately 40,000 American children have lost their parents due to COVID-19.

Ashton Verdery, the author of the earlier study, said the results of the two studies are not contradictory. Verdery and his colleagues focused on a shorter period of time than the new research. Verdery’s team also only focuses on the death of parents, and the new paper also records the care of grandparents.

“It is very important to understand the loss of grandparents,” Verdery, a researcher at Pennsylvania State University, said in an email. “Many children live with grandparents”, this kind of living arrangement is more common in certain ethnic groups.

Of all the children who lost their primary caregiver, approximately 32% were Hispanic and 26% were black. Hispanics and black Americans make up a much smaller proportion of the population. White children account for 35% of children who have lost their primary caregivers, even though more than half of the population is white.

In some states, this difference is even more pronounced. In California, 67% of children who have lost their primary caregiver are Hispanic. The study found that in Mississippi, 57% of children who lost their primary caregiver were black.

The new study is based on the calculation of excess deaths or higher than typical deaths.Most of these deaths are caused by the coronavirus, but the pandemic has also caused More deaths From other reasons.

Georgia girl Kate Kelly lost her 54-year-old father in January. She said that William “Ed” Kelly had difficulty breathing, and an emergency care clinic suspected it was due to COVID-19. But it turns out that his arteries were blocked and he died of a heart attack, leaving Kate, her two sisters and her mother behind.

In the first month after his death, friends and neighbors brought groceries, donated money and were very supportive. But after that, everyone seemed to move on—except for Kate and her family.

“It’s like it didn’t help at all,” said the third year of high school from Lilburn.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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