COVID's hidden toll: One million orphans

Many of the most affected countries are in Latin America, which accounts for about one-third of coronavirus deaths despite having just 8% of the global population. On a per capita basis, Peru has been the hardest hit, with an estimated 10.2 children per 1,000 losing a primary caregiver, according to the study published in the Lancet. Mexico, Brazil and Colombia also are in the study’s top five.

On Thursday, Mexico’s agency for child welfare published a study estimating 118,362 children in Mexico lost at least one parent…

“The velocity at which this is happening is staggering,” said Andrés Villaveces, a physician and epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who co-wrote the Lancet study. “It is a problem that affects every single part of the world, and it is a problem that lingers. If you become an orphan at an early age, you are going to be vulnerable for many years.”

In India, more than 75,000 children lost either one or both parents to Covid-19 between April 2020 and July, according to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights. The state of Maharashtra, home to financial hub Mumbai, had more than 13,000 children affected, the organization said in an affidavit to the Supreme Court.

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