Pandemic-Linked Caregiver Deaths Nearly Double Since April

By Reuters Staff

March 01, 2022

(Reuters) - More than 5.2 million children worldwide have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19, researchers say.

They estimate based on mathematical models that from March 1, 2020 through October 31, 2021, at least 3,367,000 children suffered the loss of a parent as a result of the pandemic. An additional 1,833,300 children lost a grandparent or other adult caregiver, the researchers reported in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Those numbers are nearly twice as high as the estimates they reported after the first 14 months of the pandemic through April 2021, they noted.

The number of children in the 20 countries studied who lost a parent ranged from 2,400 in Germany to more than 1.9 million in India. In the United States, 149,300 children lost a mother or father, the authors estimate. In Peru and South Africa, 8 and 7 children, respectively, out of every 1,000 lost a parent. In all countries, children were more likely to have lost a father than a mother.

"Real-time updated data suggests the true totals reached 6.7 million children as of January 2022," study leader Dr Juliette Unwin of Imperial College London said in a statement. "The pandemic is still raging worldwide, which means COVID-19 related orphanhood will also continue to surge."

SOURCE: The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, online February 24, 2022.