According to a Lancet study published in July 2021, between 1 March 2020 and 31 April 2021, an estimated 11.34 lakh children experienced the death of primary caregivers globally, including at least one parent or custodial grandparent. The study estimated that as many as 1.19 lakh children in India lost their primary caregiver due to COVID-19. Up to five times more children lost their fathers than lost their mothers.
According to the study, there was an estimated 8.5-fold increase in new orphans in India from 5,091 children in March to 43,139 in April 2021. The researchers warned that these children are also at increased risk of disease, physical abuse, sexual violence and adolescent pregnancy. Countries with the highest rates of children losing their primary caregiver included Peru, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.
Furthermore, as older adults are the most vulnerable to the virus, many children living in multigenerational families will have experienced the death of a grandparents.
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