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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 101-105

Children Orphaned Due to COVID-19 Pandemic: Learning from the Past and Preparing for Their Future

1 Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania; Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA
2 Department of Psychiatry, Case Western Reserve University, MetroHealth System, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
4 Department of Psychiatry, Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, Camden, New Jersey, USA

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Consuelo Cagande
Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, 3500 Civic Blvd, HUB Bldg, DCAPBS,12th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/wsp.wsp_22_22

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A worldwide spread of children orphaned due to COVID-19 was another tragedy many families and communities faced. Between March 2020 and October 2021, 5·0 million COVID-19 deaths had occurred worldwide, and roughly 5·2 million children had lost a parent or caregiver due to COVID-19-associated death. However, the great orphaning was not affecting all demographic groups equally, with different racial and ethnic groups experiencing different levels of mortality. This study further discusses the impact of the pandemic on transnational orphans in the U.S., society, development, and emotions. In addition, there were lessons learned from prior global pandemics such as the Spanish Influenza of 1918 and the HIV pandemic that left children orphaned. Therefore, there were strategies to help mitigate the impact on children orphaned due to a pandemic. They include engaging the community, developing and improving evidence-based programs, and providing a safe environment as well as protective and mental health services and trauma-informed care for children worldwide. Lessons from the past should drive the advocacy for such programs and hope for the future.

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