Of all the sad statistics the U.S. has dealt with this past year and a half, here is a particularly difficult one: A new study estimates that more than 140,000 children in the U.S. have lost a parent or a grandparent caregiver to COVID-19. The majority of these children come from racial and ethnic minority groups.
"This means that for every four COVID-19 deaths, one child was left behind without a mother, father and/or a grandparent who provided for that child's home needs and nurture — needs such as love, security and daily care," says Susan Hillis, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of the new study.
The study, which was published Thursday in thejournal Pediatrics, estimated the number of losses from April 1, 2020, through the end of June 2021 at 140,000. And that number has risen in the past three months: Hillis estimates it is around 175,000 today.
And, just as COVID-19 has killed more people in communities of color, children in these communities are the most impacted by the loss of parents and primary caregivers.
"Sixty-five percent of all children experiencing COVID-associated orphanhood or death of their primary caregiver are of racial and ethnic minority," says Hillis. "That is such an extreme disparity."
To read more of Rhitu Chatterjee and Carmel Wroth's article, please click here.