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Research Letter
April 5, 2021

Estimates and Projections of COVID-19 and Parental Death in the US

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program in Public Health, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
  • 2Family, Population, and Preventive Medicine, Renaissance School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York
  • 3Department of Sociology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada
  • 4Department of Sociology and Spatial Sciences Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
  • 5Department of Sociology and Criminology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park
JAMA Pediatr. Published online April 5, 2021. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.0161

The scale of COVID-19 mortality in the United States, including among prime-age adults, merits efforts to continuously track how many children are affected by parental death. Children who lose a parent are at elevated risk of traumatic grief, depression, poor educational outcomes, and unintentional death or suicide, and these consequences can persist into adulthood.1 Sudden parental death, such as that occurring owing to COVID-19, can be particularly traumatizing for children and leave families ill prepared to navigate its consequences. Moreover, COVID-19 losses are occurring at a time of social isolation, institutional strain, and economic hardship, potentially leaving bereaved children without the supports they need.

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