Study: Tens of thousands of children under 18 have lost at least 1 parent to COVID-19

A new study headed up by an epidemiologist at Stony Brook's School of Medicine found that tens of thousands of children under the age of 18 have lost at least one parent to COVID-19.

News 12 Staff

Apr 6, 2021, 2:17 AM

Updated 1,109 days ago

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A new study headed up by a social epidemiologist at Stony Brook's School of Medicine found that tens of thousands of children under the age of 18 have lost at least one parent to COVID-19.
Dr. Rachel Kidman says the number is staggering.
"We estimate 40,000 children who have lost a parent and that is about a 20% bump in what we would normally see, absent of COVID," says Kidman. "So, a big jump in the number of kids who are losing a parent this year."
Kidman says the model also shows that Black children are disproportionately affected. She says they make up 14% of the children in the U.S., but 20% of those who have lost a parent to COVID-19.
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"Kids who lose a parent are more likely to be depressed or suicidal, they're more likely to drop out of school, there are really long-term implications, even for adulthood, but we don't know how children are dealing with their grief during this really unique period of social isolation."
Shirley Robertson lost her 34-year-old brother Raul to COVID-19. Robertson says her nieces and the rest of her family continue to grieve the loss.
"Just stick together, always be there for each other, because it's hard, it's hard for the moms, it's hard for the siblings," says Robertson.
Kidman says grieving children and their families will need long-term support and compassion. Kidman says children need be back at school to socialize with friends and get support from adult figures.
Researchers say grieving children and their families need financial, social, and emotional support. They suggest a federal database be created to track the children and federal policies created with money attached to programs to help them and their families.


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