Children Left Behind: 140,000 Kids Lost Their Primary Caregiver To COVID

A study released today by the Journal Pediatrics says that 140,000 kids lost their primary caregiver to COVID.

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.” 

The study examined numbers through June 2021. This means that now, four months later, we could be looking at numbers closer to 175,000. Unfortunately, it seems 65% of those children affected are from racial and ethnic minorities. 

“American Indian and Alaska Native children were 4.5 times more likely to have lost a primary caregiver compared to white children. Black children were 2.4 times more likely and Hispanic children almost twice as likely.”

These populations already are more likely to deal with issues impacting things such as education, socio-economic status, and social pressures. Losing caregivers to COVID is another hit. Losing a major caregiver impacts children for the remainder of their lives. 

Children who experience parental loss are at a higher risk for many negative outcomes, including mental issues (e.g., depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, post-traumatic stress symptoms), shorter schooling, less academic success, lower self-esteem​​, and more sexual risk behaviors.”

Over 609,000 individuals in the U.S. have died due to COVID. The amount of family members impacted by the loss of a loved one is innumerable. 

On top of that, many healthcare institutions have spoken on how a lack of staff can impact patient care as well as the physical and mental well-being of the caretakers. One article states,

The nursing shortage has led to longer shifts and higher patient-to-nurse ratios. Not only does this undermine the quality of patient care, it can also cause fatigue, injury and stress. All of these factors contribute to nurse burnout.” 

Another article discusses how some medical institutions have done away with things such as labor and delivery simply due to not having enough personnel to run those departments,

Parkland Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joseph Chang told lawmakers this week that its staffing shortages are not just related to those treating patients with COVID. 

‘I had to make the decision two weeks ago to transfer pregnant patients to other hospitals because of staffing,’ he said. A spokesperson for Parkland said the shortage in labor and delivery nurses is a statewide problem.“

The longer the pandemic continues, the more despair and negative impacts we will see. We all can only hope the curve in COVID cases goes down and that no additional variants rise. The CDC will regularly provide information regarding the pandemic and different things individuals can do to help lower the curve. 

“This week’s national ensemble predicts that the number of newly reported COVID-19 deaths will likely decrease over the next 4 weeks.”

Stay well. Send positive vibes to others. Think of the children who have lost caregivers and let’s all join together in ending the pandemic and its negative effects.

Photo by Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

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