Two years after the coronavirus pandemic first started, life is returning to normal for some. But that’s not the case for hundreds of thousands of kids who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. More than 1 out of every 360 kids lost a parent or other in-home caregiver to COVID-19, according to a report from a nonprofit advocacy group.
Karter and Krew are among the nation’s COVID orphans. Their 25-year-old mother died of complications from the coronavirus before she could hold her infant son delivered by cesarian section in a Louisiana Hospital.
Louisiana is one of 34 states where 200 or more children per 100,000 lost a parent, according to an analysis of CDC data. In California, the state legislature has a proposal to help them.
“So, I have a bill that would provide hope accounts because those kids, they are going to turn 18, and then they won’t have parents that they can rely on. And so, fortunately, we have social security survivor benefits for most of those kids, not all, but many of them,” California Senator Nancy Skinner told CBS News Michael George.
Skinner’s bill would put $4,000 in accounts aimed at children from poor families, but that’s just one state.
“The tragedy of COVID is that it really impacted our low-wage workers who had to still go to work, many of whom were black and brown families, low-income families,” Skinner said. “They were disproportionately, they died in disproportionate numbers. So now their kids have lost a parent to COVID.”
Nationally, compared to White children, American Indian/Alaska Native children were 4.5 times more likely to lose a parent or a primary caregiver to COVID, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health. Black children were 2.4 times more likely, and Hispanic children were nearly 2 times (1.8) more likely.
Karter and Krew are being raised by their grandparents but research is also showing some of those who died may have left children to be raised in foster care.