Nearly 40,000 kids in the U.S. who lost a parent to COVID-19 need immediate support

April 05, 2021

Young girl feeling alone and solitude at home. Photo by Tommaso Altamura (iStock)

Young girl feeling alone and solitude at home. Photo by Tommaso Altamura (iStock)

Approximately 40,000 children in the United States have lost a parent to COVID-19 since February 2020, according to a statistical model created by a team of researchers, including Rachel Margolis, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology.

The researchers anticipate that without immediate interventions, the trauma from losing a parent could cast a shadow of mental health and economic problems well into the future for this vulnerable population.

In the model, one in every 13 COVID-related deaths results in a child under 18 years of age losing a parent. Children who lose a parent are at higher risk of a range of problems, including traumatic prolonged grief and depression, lower educational attainment, economic insecurity and accidental death or suicide.

“As the death toll from this pandemic increases, the population of bereaved family and friends continues to grow,” said Margolis. “In our research, we found that each COVID death in the U.S. impacts about nine close family members. The losses felt by kids cannot be ignored. The number of children who have lost parents has already reached 40,000, and two million children have lost a grandparent because of the pandemic.”

(Read the full story by Jeff Renaud)