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Research shows that 40,000 children in the United States have lost their parents who participated in Covid-19



A street in Queens, New York in May 2020.

A street in Queens, New York in May 2020.
photo: Johannes Essel/AFP (Getty Images)

A new study is a distressing reminder of the pain caused by the covid-19 pandemic. It is estimated that as of February this year, nearly 40,000 children in the United States have lost at least one parent due to viral diseases. The study also found that if the virus is allowed to spread the virus without restriction, more than 100,000 children will lose their parents.

Have tried before In the United States, the grief caused by pandemic-related deaths currently exceeds 500,000. For example, in a recent poll in March this year, Established About one-fifth of Americans have personally known people who have died of covid-19.But this study Published In the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics, it seems to be the first study specifically aimed at children.

“There is a saying that children are not as affected by this virus because they are less susceptible to illness and have a lower mortality rate than the elderly,” study author Rachel Margolis, Ontario, Canada A sociologist and demographer at Western Province University, told Gizmodo in an email. “However, children are greatly affected by the dying of family members, so in this article, we study how often children lose their parents.

Margolis and her colleagues relied on previous research to measure the impact of any single death on family members. In this case, they tried to estimate the average number of children under the age of 18 associated with a covid-19 death based on our knowledge of the American population and the number of deaths related to the pandemic so far. They also compared the data they found with the estimated number of children who lost their parents in non-pandemic years.

On average, the authors calculated that every covid-19 death in the United States could leave 0.078 children without parents. This quickly adds up when you consider the number of deaths due to the pandemic in the United States.

Between February 2020 and February 2021, their best estimate is that based on approximately 479,000 deaths recorded during this period, 37,300 children lost at least one parent to participate in covid-19. It is estimated that most of these children are in their teenage years. When they consider the excessive number of deaths (higher than the annual average death toll, representing direct and indirect deaths from covid-19), they estimate that 43,000 children have lost their parents due to the pandemic. Compared with normal years, they also calculated that the number of parent deaths caused by the pandemic has increased by 17.5% to 20.2%.

The author wrote: “For comparison, the attack on September 11, 2001 left 3,000 children without parents.” “As the death toll continues to increase, the burden will become heavier.”

In fact, since February this year, approximately 70,000 Americans have died of covid-19. according to To the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Although our highly effective vaccine will quickly turn the tide of the pandemic, hundreds of people still die every day, and hospitalizations and new daily cases are still relatively high. However, the situation may be worse. In the worst-case scenario, the vaccine has not yet arrived, and the pandemic can kill 1.5 million people in the United States before it reaches herd immunity. The authors estimate that 116,900 children may have lost their parents.

Even if the pandemic is over, there will still be those who mourn for those who lost their lives. Last year, some of the authors behind this new study conducted another study, Established In the United States, an average of about 9 family members are left behind for every covid-19 death. As with the pandemic itself, these losses will have the greatest impact on certain groups, while others will have a greater impact. In this study, black children accounted for 20% of parental deaths, although only 14% of all children.

Margolis said: “Our research shows that the risks faced by children are different from those faced by older people, but they have no immunity.” “In addition, many adults have lost their parents or other family members. Bring serious consequences, especially for children with greater mental health and financial pressure.”

Although the elderly are still the people most likely to die from covid-19, the widespread uncontrolled pandemic has claimed the lives of many young Americans.according to CDC data, More than 100,000 people died under the age of 65. In view of their results, the researchers advocated that more work should be done to help the people most directly affected by these deaths, especially children.

“My hope is that when we emerge from the pandemic, we will take the process of grief seriously. I hope to see more governments offering bereavement leave,” Margolis said. “In addition, for specific children who have lost their parents, we need to find out who these children are, connect them to local services, and help them get short- and long-term support. We know that in the best case, losing a parent is Difficult. When we can’t support each other, it’s even more difficult.”

This article has been updated and the author of one of the studies has made a comment.


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